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London, England.— Keoan Paul, Trench, TbObner & Co., Paternoster House 
Charing Cross Koad, W. C. 

Entered according to act of Congress, April, 1896, by Auotrsnjs Le Plongeon, 

in the oiHce of the Librarian of Conirress, at Washing1»n 

AU rights of translation and reproduction reserved 

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Brooklyn, Febbdary 15, 1896. 


Acosta, Jos6 de. 
Acts of the Apostles. 
JElian, Claud inus. 
Alcedo, Antonio de. 
Ancona, Eligio. 



Beltran de Santa Rosa, Pedro. 

Bernal Diez del Castillo. 


Bhagavata, Purana. 

Birch, Henry. 

Blavatsky, H. P. 

Brasseur de Bourbourg. 

Brinton, Daniel G. 

British and Foreign Review. 

Brugsch, Henry. 

Bunsen, Christian Karl Julius. 

Burckhardt Barker, William. 

Cartaud de la Villate. 

Champollion Figeac. 
Champollion le Jeune. 

Charencey, Hyacinthe de. 

Cicero, Marcus Tullius. 
Cieza de Leon, Pedro. 
Clement of Alexandria. 
Clement of Rome. 
Codex Cortesianus. 
Cogolludo, Diego Lopez de. 
Colebrooke, H. T. 
Confucius — Kong-foo-tse. 
Cook, Captain James. 


Daniel, Book of. 

De Rougfi, Olivier Charles Camille. 

Diodorus Siculus. 

Dion Cassius. 

D'Orbigny, Alcide Dessalines. 

Dubois de Jancigny, Adolphe Pliili- 

Du Chaillu, Paul. 
Duncker, Maximilian Wolfgang. 


Ellis, William. 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. 



Flaubert, Uustave. 

Garcilasso de la Vega. 
Genesis, Book of. 
Gordon Gumming, C. F. 
Grose, Henry. 

Haeckel, Ernest. 
Haliburton, R. G. 
Heber, Bishop Reginald. 
Heineccius, Johana Gott. 
Herrera, Antonio dc. 
Hilkiah (the High Priest). 

Hue, Abbs Evariste Rfigis. 
Humphreys, Heni-y Noel. 

Isaiah, Book of. 



Joshua, Book of. 
Juvenal, Decimus Junius. 

Kenrick, John. 
Kings, n. Book of. 
Kingsborough (Lord), Edward King, 
Klaproth, Heiurich Julius. 

Landa, Diego de. 

Las Casas, Bartolomfi do. 

Layard, Sir Henry. 
Lenormant, Francois. 
Le Plongeon, Alice D. 
Le Plongeon, Augustus. 
Lepsius, Karl Richard. 
Leviticus, Book of. 
Lizana, Bernardo. 
London Times. 
Lucius nL (Pope). 
Lyell, Charles. 

Mahabharata, Adiparva 'Vyasa(other- 

wise Krishna Dwaipa^'ana). 
Marco Polo. 

Marcoy, Paul (Lorenzo de St. Bricq). 
Markham, Clement R. 
^Matthew's Gospel. 
Jlolina, Cristoval de. 
Jloore, Thomas. 
Moses de Leon. 
Miiller, Friedrich Maximilian. 

New York Herald. 


Oman, John Campbell. 
Ordoliez y Aguiar Ramon de. 
Osburn, William. 

Paley, Dr. 

Papyrus IV., Bulaq Museum. 



Piazzi S:nyth, C. 

Pictet, Adolplie. 


Pio Perez, Juan. 










Ranking, Jolin. 
Rau, Charles. 
Rawlinsou, George. 
Rawliuson, Sir Henry. 
Renan, Ernest. 
Ripa, Father. 
Robertson, William. 

Rockhill Woodville, W. 
Roman, Fray Geronimo. 
Rosny, Leon de. 

Salisbury, Stephen. 

Santa Buena Ventura, Gabriel de. 

Sayce, A. H. 


Schoolcraft, Henry R. 

Sclater, P. L. 

Seiss, Joseph Augustus. 

Squier, George E. 

Stephens, John L. 

St. Hilaire, Barth616my. 



Theopoinpus de Quio. 
Torquemada, Juan de. 
Troano MS. 
Two Chelas. 

Valentini, PWlipp J. J. 
Valmiki, Ramayana. 

Ward, William. 
Wheeler, J. Talboys. 
Wilkinson, Sir Gardner. 
Wilson, John. 
Wiittke, Heinrich. 


Young, Dr. 


Engraved hy F. A. Ringler & Co., of New York, from photograpJis and 
drawings hy the author. 

I. Fossil Shells xviii 

II. Map of Maya Empire, from Troano MS. .... xlii 

III. Modern Map of Central America, with Maya symbols . . xliv 

IV. Map of Drowned Valleys of Antillean Lands, by Prof. J. "W. 

Spencer, by his permission .... . . xlv 

V. Map of West Indies, from Troano MS Ix 

VI. Banana Leaf, a token of hospitality among the South Sea 

Islanders. Prom Captain Cook's Atlas .... 3 

VII. Serpent Heads found in Cay's Mausoleum, Chiclleii . . 4 
VIII. Serpent Head with Crown, carved on the entablature of the 
east fa9ade of the west wing of King Canclii's palace at 

Uxinal ... . . 5 

IX. Ruins of Prince Coil's Memorial Hall at Cliicrieii . . 7 
X. Columns of the Portico of Prince Coh's Memorial Hall, 

discovered by the author .... . . 8 

XI. Altar at the Entrance of Funeral Chamber in Prince CoU's 

Memorial Hall, discovered by the author ... 11 
XII. One of the Atlautes supporting the Table of the Altar in 

Prince Coil's Memorial Hall . ... 12 

XIII. Officials at Burmese Embassy at Paris ..... 13 

XIV. ) Sculptured Wall in the Chamber at the Foot of Prince 
XV. ) Coh's Memorial Hall 14 

XVI. Part of the East Fapade of AVest Wing of King Canclii's 

Palace at Uxinal, with Cosmic Diagram ... 16 

XVII. Maya Cosmic Diagram .... 17 

XVIII. Sri-Santara, Hindoo Cosmic Diagram . . 33 

XIX. Ensopli, Chaldean Cosmic Diagram ... .36 


PLATES ^^^^ 

XX. Head with Phoenician Features, discovered by the author 

in 1875 in the royal box tennis court at Chiclien. . . 58 

XXI. A Native Girl of Yucatan 63 

XXII. Caribs of the Island of St. Vincent. From Edwards's 

" History of the British Colonies in the West Indies " . 64 

XXIII. Portal of Eastern Pa9ade of the Palace at Chiclien. Tab- 

leau showing the Creator in the Cosmic Egg ... 69 

XXIV. Kneeling Cynocephalus. From the Temple of Death at 

Uxmal 77 

XXV. Portico, with inscription resembling those of Palenque . 81 
XXVI. Portrait of a Maya Nobleman called Cancoli. A bas- 
relief on one of the antas of tlae portico of Prince Coh's 

Memorial Hall at Chictien 82 

XXVII. Portrait of a Maya Nobleman called Clliich. A bas- 
relief on one of the antse of the portico of Prince Coh's 

Memorial Hall ... 82 

XXVIII. Portrait of » Maya Chieftain called Cul. Bas-relief on 
one of the jambs of the entrance to the funeral chamber 

in Prince Coil's Memorial Hall 82 

XXIX. Priest and Devotee. Sculptured slab from Manchg, now 

in the British Museum ... . . 82 

XXX. Obelisk, from Copan. Photographed by Mr. Marshall H. 

Saville ; reproduced by his permission ... 82 

XXXI. Queen ZoD. One of the atlantes supporting the table of 

the altar in Prince Coil's Memorial Hall ... 84 

XXXII. A Maya Matron. One of the atlantes supporting the 

table of the altar in Prince Coil's Memorial Hall . 84 

XXXIII. A Caiiob Vase. Used in religious ceremonies . 86 

XXXIV. Slab from Altar in the Temple of God of Rain. Palenque 109 
XXXV. Restoration of the Portico of Prince Coil's Memorial Hall. 

Drawing by the author .... . 130 

XXXVI. Fish. Bas-relief from Pontiff Cay's Mausoleum at Chi- 
clien . . . .121 
XXXVII ) Sculptured Zapote Beam, forming the lintel of the en- 
XXXVIII ( ^''^"^'^ '-^ funeral chamber in Prince Coli's Memorial 

' Hall. Casts from moulds made by tlie author . . 122 
XXXIX. Fresco Painting in Funeral Cliamber in Prince Coil's 5Ie- 
morial Hall. Queen Sldo when yet a young girl consult- 
ing Pate by the ceremony which the Chinese call Pou . 128 
XL. Fresco painting. Queen M6o asked in ^Marriage . . 130 
XLI. Attitude of Respect among the Egyptians . . .131 



XLII. Attitude of Respect among the Mayas. Statue of Prince 

Coll exhumed from his Mausoleum by the author . 132 

XLIII. Attitude of Respect among the Mayas. Columns of Ka- 

tuns at Ak6 .133 

XLIV. Fresco Painting iu Funeral Chamber in Prince Coh's Me- 
morial Hall. Queen Moo's Suitor consulting Fate . 133 
XLV. Fresco Painting in Funeral Chamber in Prince Coil's Me- 
morial Hall. Citani, tlie Friend of Queen Moo, con- 
sulting an Aruspicc 134 

XL VI. Fresco Painting in Funeral Chamber in Prince Cell's Me- 
morial Hall. Prince Aac in Presence in the H-inen . 134 
XLVn. Fresco Painting iu Funeral Chamber iu Prince Coli's Me- 
morial Hall. Highpriest Cay consulting Fate . . 135 
XLVIH. Fresco Painting in Funeral Chamber in Prince Coil's Me- 
morial Hall. Prince Coll in Battle . . 136 
XLIX. Fresco Painting in Funeral Chamber in Prince Coli's Me- 
morial Hall. A Village, assaulted by Prince Coli's 
Warriors, abandoned by its Inhabitants . . 137 
L. Fresco Painting in Funeral Chamber in Prince Coli's Me- 
morial Hall. Prince Coil's Body prepared for Cremation 138 
LI. Fresco painting in Prince Coli's Memorial Hall. Prince 

Aac proffering his Love to Queen M6o . . 139 

LII. Queen M6o a Prisoner of War. Plate xvii., part ii., of 

Troano JIS . . 143 

Lin. Account of the Destruction of the Land of Mu. Slab in 
the building called Akab-Oib at Clliclieii. Cast from 
mould made by the author ..... 146 

LIV. Account of the Destruction of the Land of Mu. Plate 

v., part ii., of Troano MS 147 

LV. I Calendar and an Account of the Destruction of the Laud 
LVI. 1 of Mil. From the Codex Cortesianus . . . 147 

LVII. Mausoleum of Prince Coll. Restoration and drawing by 

the author . . . . . 155 

LVIH. A Dying Warrior. Bas-relief from Prince Coil's Mauso- 
leum ... . 155 
LIX. Leopard eating a Human Heart: Totem of Prince Coll. 

A bas-relief from his Mausoleum . . . 157 

LX. Macaw eating a Human Heart: Totem of Queen Mdo. 

A bas-relief from Prince Coil's Mausoleum . . . 157 
LXI. Salutation and Token of Respect in Thibet. From the 

book by Gabriel Bondalot, " Across Thibet " . . 158 



LXn. A Dying Sphinx (a leopard with a human head) that was 

placed on the top of Prince Coh's Mausoleum . . 158 
LXIII. Javelin Head and Arrow Points, found with the Charred 

Remains of Prince Coh in his Mausoleum . . . 159 
LXIV. Egyptian Sphinx. Reproduced from a photograph by Mr. 

Edward Wilson, by his permission .... 159 

LXV. Portrait of Queen Moo. From a demi-relief adorning 
the entablature of the east fa9ade of the Governor's House 

at Uxmal 166 

LXVI. Portrait of Bishop Landa, second Bishop of Yucatan. 
From an oil painting in the Chapter Hall of the Cathe- 
dral at Merida ; reproduced by permission of the present 
bishop ... .... .169 

LXVn. Autograph of the Historian, Father Lopez de Cogoliudo. 
The original is in the possession of the present Bishop of 

Yucatan 173 

LXVIII, Mezzo-relievo in Stucco on the Frieze of the Temple of 

Kabul at Izamal. A Human Sacrifice .... 197 
LXIX. Fresco Painting in the Funeral Chamber of Prince Coil's 

Memorial Hall. Adepts consulting a Seer . . 232 

LXX. Fresco Painting in the Funeral Chamber of Prince Coh's 
Jlemorial Hall. A Female Adept consulting a Magic 

Mirror 233 

LXXI. Part of Fa9ade of the Sanctuary at Uxmal. Image of 

I the Winged Cosmic Circle 318 

LXXII. The Lord of the Yucatan Forests. From life . . .236 
LXXIII. Part of Fa9ade of the Sanctuary at Uxmal. Cosmic 

symbols carved on the trunk of the Mastodon . . 256 


" To accept any authority as final, and to 
dispense with the necessity of independent in- 
vestigation, is destructive of all progress." 
(Man hy two Chelas.) 

" What you have learned, verify hy expe- 
rience, otherwise learning is vain." 

{Indian Saying.) 

In this work I offer no theory. In questions of history 
theories prove nothing. They are therefore out of place. I 
leave my readers to draw their own inferences from the facts 
presented for their consideration. Whatever be their conclu- 
sions is no concern of mine. One thing, however, is certain 
— neither their opinion nor mine will alter events that have 
happened in the dim past of which so little is known to-day. 
A record of many of these events has reached our times writ- 
ten, by those who took part in them, in a language still spoken 
by several thousands of human beings. There we may read 
part of man's history and follow the progress of his civilization. 

The study — in situ — of the relics of the ancient Mayas has 
revealed such striking analogies between their language, their 
religious conceptions, their cosmogonic notions, their manners 
and customs, their traditions, their architecture, and the lan- 
guage, the religious conceptions, the cosmogonic notions, the 
manners and customs, the traditions, the architecture of the 

yiii PREFACE. 

ancient civilized nations of Asia, Africa, and Europe, of which 
we have any knowledge, that it has become evident, to my 
mind at least, that such similarities are not merely eflfeots of 
hazard, but the result of intimate communications that must 
have existed between aU of them; and that distance was no 
greater obstacle to their intercourse than it is to-day to that of 
the inhabitants of the various countries. 

It has been, and still is, a favorite hypothesis, with certain 
students of ethnology, that the "Western Continent, now known 
as America, received its human population, therefore its civili- 
zation, from Asia. True, there is a split in their ranks. They 
are not quite certain if the immigration in America came from 
Tartary across the Strait of Behring, or from Hindostan over 
the wastes of the Pacific Ocean. This, however, is of little 

There are those who pretend, like Klaproth, that the cradle 
of humanity is to be found on the plateau of Pamir, between 
the high peaks of the Himalayan ranges, or like Messrs. Eenan 
and Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire, who place it in the region of 
the Timasus, in the countries where the Bible says the '' Gar- 
den of Eden" was situated ; while others are equally certain 
man came from Lemuria, that submerged continent invented 
by P. L. Sclater, Avhich HaeckeP believes was the birthplace 
of the primitive ape-man, and which they say now lies under 
the waves of the Indian Ocean. The truth of the matter is, 
that these opinions are mere conjectures, simple hjrpotheses, 
and their advocates know no more Avhen and where man first 
appeared on earth than the new-born babe Icnows of his sur- 
roundings or how he came. 

The learned wranglers on this shadowy and dun point 
' Haeckel, Ernst, Ukt. of Creation, vol. ii., p. 336. 


forget that all leading geologists now agree in the opinion that 
America is the oldest known continent on the face of the 
planet ; that the fossil remains of human beings found in vari- 
ous parts of it, far distant from each other, prove that man 
lived there in times immemorial, and that we have not the 
slightest ray of light to illumine the darkness that surrounds 
the origin of those primeval men. Furthermore, it is now 
admitted by the generality of scientists, that man, far from 
descending from a single pair, located in a particular portion 
of the earth's surface, has appeared on every part of it where 
the biological conditions have been propitious to his develop- 
ment and maintenance; and that the production of the various 
species, with their distinct, weU-marked anatomical and intel- 
lectual characteristics, was due to the difference of those bio- 
logical conditions, and to the general forces calling forth 
animal life prevalent in the places where each particular spe- 
cies has appeared, and whose distinctive marks were adapted 
to its peculiar environments. 

The Maya sages doubtless had reached similar conclusions, 
since they called their country Mayacli ; that is, "the land 
first emerged from the bosom of the deep," "the country 
of the shoot; " and the Egyptians, according to Herodotus, 
boasted that "their ancestors, in the 'Lands of the West,' 
were the oldest men on earth." 

If the opinion of LyeU, Humphry, and a host of modern 
geologists, regarding the priority of America's antiquity, be 
correct, what right have we to gainsay the assertion of the 
Mayas and of the Egyptians in claiming likewise priority for 
their people and their country ? 

It is but natural to suppose that intelligence in man was 
developed on the oldest continent, among its most ancient 


inhabitants; and that its concomitant, civilization, grew apace 
with its development. When, at the impulse of the instinct of 
self-preservation, men linked themselves into clans, tribes, and 
nations, history was born, and with it a desire to commemo- 
rate the events of which it is composed. The art of drawing 
or writing was then invented. The incidents regarded as 
most worthy of being remembered and preserved for the 
knowledge of coming generations were carved on the most 
enduring material in their possession — stone. And so it is that 
we find to-day the cosmogonic and religious notions, the rec- 
ords of natural phenomena and predominant incidents in the 
history of their nation and that of their rulers, sculptured on 
the walls of the temples and palaces of the civilized Mayas, 
Chaldeans, and Egyptians, as on the sacred rocks and in the 
hallowed caves of primitive uncivilized man. 

It is to the monumental inscriptions and to the books of the 
Mayas that we must turn if we wish to learn about the pri- 
meval traditions of mankind, the development of civilization, 
and the events that took place centuries before the dim myths 
recorded as occurrences at the beginning of our written 

Historians when writing on the universal history of the 
race have never taken into consideration that of man in 
America, and the role that in remote ages American nations 
played on this world's stage, and the influence they exerted 
over the populations of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Still, as 
far as we can scan the long vista of the past centuries, the 
Mayas seem to have had direct and intimate communications 
with them. 

This fact is indeed no new revelation, as proved by the uni- 
versality of the name Blaya, which seems to have been as well 


known by all civilized nations, thousands of years ago, as is to- 
day that of the English. Thus we meet with it in Japan, the 
Islands of the Pacific, Hindostan, Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece, 
Equatorial Africa, ITorth and South America, as well as in 
the countries known to us as Central America, which in those 
times composed the Maya Empire. The seat of the Govern- 
ment and residence of the rulers was the peninsula of Yucatan. 
Wherever found, the name Maya is synonymous with power, 
wisdom, and learning. 

The existence of the "Western Continent was no more a 
mystery to the inhabitants of the countries bordering on the 
Mediterranean than to those whose shores are bathed hj the 
waves of the Indian Ocean. 

Valmiki, in his beautiful epic the " Eamayana," says that, 
in times so remote that the " sun had not yet risen above the 
horizon," the Mayas, great navigators, terrible warriors, 
learned architects, conquered the southern parts of the Indo- 
Chinese peninsula and established themselves there. 

In the classic authors, Greek and Latin, we find frequent 
mention of the great Saturnian continent, distant many thou- 
sand stadia from the Pillars of Hercules toward the setting 
sun. Plutarch, in his "Life of Solon," says that when the 
famed Greek legislator visited Egjq^t (600 years before the 
Christian era), Sonchis, a priest of Sais, also Psenophis, a 
priest of Heliopolis, told him that 9,000 years since, the rela- 
tions of the Egyptians with the inhabitants of the " Lands of 
the West " had been interrupted because of the mud that had 
made the sea impassable after the destruction of Atlantis by 

The same author again, in his work, " De Facie in Orbe 
Lunge, ' ' has Scylla recount to his brother Lampias all he had 


learned concerning them from a stranger he met at Carthage 
returning from the transatlantic countries. 

That the Western Continent was visited by Carthaginians a 
few years before the inditing of Plato's "Atlantis," the por- 
traits of men with long beards and Phoenician features, discov- 
ered by me in 1875, sculptured on the columns and antae of the 
castle at Chichen, bear witness. Diodorus Siculus attributes 
the discovery of the Western Continent to the Phoenicians, and 
describes it as "a country where the landscape is varied by 
very lofty mountains, and the temperature is always soft and 
equable." Procopius, alluding to it, says it is several thousand 
stadia from Ogygia, and encloses the whole sea, into which a 
multitude of rivers, descending from the highlands, discharge 
their waters. Theopompus, of Quio, speaking of its magni- 
tude, says: "Compared with it, our world is but a small 
island; " and Cicero, mentioning it, makes use of nearly the 
same words: " Omnis enin terras quae colitur a vobis parva 
quaedam est insula." Aristotle in his work, " De Mirabile 
Auscultatio, " giving an account. of it, represents it "as a very 
large and fertile country, well watered by abundant streams; " 
and he refers to a decree enacted by the Senate of Carthage 
toward the year 509 b.c, intended to stem the current of emi- 
gration that had set toward the Western Lands, as they feared 
it might prove detrimental to the prosperity of their city. The 
belief in the former existence of extensive lands in the middle 
of the Atlantic, and their submergence in consequence of seis- 
mic convulsions, existed among scientists even as far down as 
the fifth century of the Christian era. Proclus, one of the 
greatest scholars of antiquity, who during thirty -five j'ears 
was at the head of the Neo-Platonic school of Athens, and 
was learned in all the sciences known in his days, in his ' ' Com- 

PREFACE. xiii 

mentaries on Plato's Timseus," says: "The famous Atlantis 
exists no longer, but we can hardly doubt that it did once, for 
MarceUus, who wrote a history of Ethiopian affairs, says that 
such and so great an island once existed, and that it is evi- 
denced by those who composed histories relative to the external 
sea, for they relate that in this time there were seven islands 
in the Atlantic sea sacred to Proserpine; and, besides these, 
three of immense magnitude, sacred to Pluto, Jupiter, and 
ISTeptune; and, besides this, the inhabitants of the last island 
(Poseidonis) preserve the memory of the prodigious magnitude 
of the Atlantic island as related by their ancestors, and of its 
governing for many periods all the islands in the Atlantic sea. 
From this isle one may pass to other large islands beyond, 
which are not far from the firjn land near which is the true 

It is well to notice that, like all the Maya authors who have 
described the awful cataclysms that caused the submergence of 
the ^^ Land of Mu," Proclus mentions the existence of ten 
countries or islands, as Plato did. Can this be a mere coinci- 
dence, or was it actual geographical knowledge on the part of 
these writers ? 

Inquiries are often made as to the causes that led to the 
interruption of the communications between the inhabitants of 
the Western Continent and the dwellers on the coasts of the 
Mediterranean, after they had been renewed by the Cartha- 

It is evident that the mud spoken of by the Egj^ptian 
priests had settled in the course of centuries, and that the sea- 
weeds mentioned by Hamilco had ceased to be a barrier suffi- 
cient to impede the passage, since Carthaginians reached the 
shores of Yucatan at least five hundred vears before the Chris- 


tian era.* These causes may be found in the destruction of 
Carthage, of its commerce and its ships, by the Eomans under 
Publius Scipio. The Eomans never were navigators. After 
the fall of Carthage, public attention being directed to their 
conquests in JSTorthern Africa, in "Western Asia, and in Greece ; 
to their wars with the Teutons and the Cimbri ; to their own 
civil dissensions and to the many other political events that 
preceded the decadence and disintegration of the Roman Em- 
pire; the maritime expeditions of the Phoenicians and of the 
Carthaginians — their discoveries of distant and transatlantic 
countries became weU-nigh forgotten. On the other hand, 
those hardy navigators kept their discoveries as secret as 

With the advent and ascendency of the Christian Church, 
the remembrance of the existence of such lands that still lin- 
gered among students," as that of the Egyptian and Greek 
civilizations, was utterly obliterated from the mind of the 

If we are to believe TertuUian and other ecclesiastical 
writers, the Christians, during the first centuries of the Chris- 
tian era, held in abhorrence all arts and sciences, which, like 
literature, they attributed to the Muses, and therefore regarded 
as artifices of the devil. They consequently destroyed all ves- 
tiges as well as all means of culture. They closed the acade- 
mies of Athens, the schools of Alexandria; burned the libra- 
ries of the Serapion and other temples of learning, which 
contained the works of the philosophers and the records of 

' Juan de Torquemada, Monarquia Indiana, lib. iii., cap. 3. Lizana 
(Bernardo), Dewcionario de nuestm Senora de Itzamal, etc., part 1, folio 
5, published by Abb6 Brasseur, in Landa's Las Cosas de Tiiaitan, pp. 349 
et passim. 

" Clement of Rome, First Epistle to tbe Corinthians, chapter viii., verselS. 


their researches in all branches of human knowledge (the 
power of steam and electricity not excepted). They depopu- 
lated the. countries bathed by the waters of the Mediterranean ; 
plunged the populations of "Western Europe into ignorance, 
superstition, fanaticism; threw over them, as an intellectual 
mortuary paU, the black wave of barbarism that during the 
Middle Ages came nigh wiping out all traces of civilization — 
-which was salved from total wreck by the followers of Ma- 
homet, whose great mental and scientific attainments illumined 
that night of intellectual darkness as a brilliant meteor, too 
soon extinguished by those minions of the Church, the members 
of the Holy Inquisition established by Pope Lucius III. The 
inquisitors, imitating their worthy predecessors, the Metropoli- 
tans of Constantinople and the bishops of Alexandria, closed 
the academies and public schools of Cordoba, where Pope 
Sylvester II. and several other high dignitaries of the Church 
had been admitted as pupils and acquired, under the tuition 
of Moorish philosophers, knowledge of medicine, geographj'', 
rhetoric, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy, and the 
other sciences contained in the thousands of precious volumes 
that formed the superb libraries which the inquisitors wantonly 
destroyed, alleging St. Paul's example.^ 

Abundant proofs of the intimate communications of the 
ancient Mayas with the civilized nations of Asia, Africa, and 
Europe are to be found among the remains of their ruined 
cities. Their peculiar architecture, embodying their cosmo- 
gonio and religious notions, is easily recognized in the ancient 
architectural monuments of India, Chaldea, Egypt, and Greece ; 
in the great pyramid of Ghizeh, in the famed Parthenon of 
Athens. Although architecture is an unerring standard of the 
'The Acts of the Apostles, chapter xix. , verse 19. 


degree of civilization readied by a people, and constitutes, 
therefore, an important factor in historical research; although 
it is as correct a test of race as is language, and more easily- 
applied and understood, not being subject to changes, I have 
refrained from availing myself of it, in order not to increase 
the limits of the present work. 

I reserve the teachings that may be gathered from the 
study of Maya monuments for a future occasion ; restricting 
my observations now principaUy to the Memorial Hall at 
Cliiclien, dedicated to the manes of Prince Coh hy his sister- 
wife Queen Mdo ; and to the mausoleum, erected by her order, 
to contain his effigy and his cremated remains. In the first 
she caused to be painted, on the walls of the funeral chamber, 
the principal events of his and her life, just as the Egyptian 
kings had the events of their own lives painted on the walls of 
their tombs. 

Language is admitted to be a most accurate guide in tracing 
the family relation of various peoples, even when inhabiting 
countries separated by vast extents of land or water. In the 
present instance, Maya, still spoken by thousands of human 
beings, and in which the inscriptions sculptured on the walls of 
the temples and palaces in the ruined cities of Yucatan are 
written, as are also the few books of the ancient Maya sages 
that have come to our hands, Avill be the thread of Ariadne 
that will guide us in foUoAving the tracks of the colonists from 
Mayaclv in their peregrinations. In every locality Avhere their 
name is found, there also we meet with their language, their 
religious and cosmogonic notions, their traditions, customs, 
architecture, and a host of other indications of their presence 
and permanency, and of the influence they have exerted on 
the civilization 6f the aboriginal inhabitants. 

PREFACE. xvii 

My readers will judge for themselves of the correctness of 
this assertion. 

The reading of the Maya inscriptions and books, among 
other very interesting subjects, reveals the origin of many 
narratives that have come dovi^n to us, as traditions, in the 
sacred books of various nations, and which are regarded by 
many as inexplicable myths. For instance, we find in them 
the history of certain personages who, after their death, be- 
came the gods most universally revered by the Egyptians, 
Isis and Osiris, whose earthly history, related by Wilkinson 
and other writers who regard it as a myth, corresponds ex- 
actly to that of Queen Moo and her brother-husband Prince 
Coll, whose charred heart Avas found by me, preserved in a 
stone urn, in his mausoleum at Cliiclien. 

Osiris, we are told, was killed by his brother through jeal- 
ousy, and because his murderer wished to seize the reins of the 
government. He made war against the widow, his own sister, 
whom he came to hate bitterly, after having been madly in 
love with her. 

In these same books we learn the true meaning of the tree 
of Jcnowledge in the middle of the garden; of the temptation 
of the woman by the serpent offering her a fruit. This offer- 
ing of a fruit, as a declaration of love, which was a common 
occurrence in the every-day life of the Mayas, Egjj^ptians, and 
Greeks, loses all the seeming incongruity it presents in the 
narrative of Genesis for lack of a Avord of explanation. But 
this shoAvs how very simple facts have been, and still are, made 
use of by crafty men, such as the highpriest ITiUciah, to de- 
vise religious speculations and impose on the good faith of 
ignorant, credulous, and superstitious masses. It is on this story 
of the courting of Queen M6o by Prince Aac, the murderer of 

xviii PREFACE. 

her husband — purposely disfigured by the scheming Jewish 
priest Hilkiah, who made the woman appear to have yielded to 
her tempter, perhaps out of spite against the prophetess Hul- 
dah, she having refused to countenance his fraud and to 
become his accomplice in it' — that rests the Avhole fabric of 
the Christian religion, which, since its advent in the world, has 
been the cause of so much bloodshed and so many atrocious 

In these Maya writings we also meet with the solution of 
that much mooted question among modern scientists — the ex- 
istence, destruction, and submergence of a large island in the 
Atlantic Ocean, as related by Plato in his " Timseus " and 
"Critias," in consequence of earthquakes and volcanic erup- 
tions. Of this dreadful cataclysm, in which perished sixty- 
four millions of human beings, four different authors have left 
descriptions in the Maya language. Two of these narratives 
are illustrated — that contained in the Troano MS.,^ the other in 
the Codex Cortesianus. The third has been engraved on stone 
in relief, and placed for safe-keeping in a room in a building at 
Cliictien, where it exists to-day, sheltered from the action of 
the elements, and preserved for the knowledge of coming gen- 
erations. The fourth was written thousands of miles from 
Mayach, in Athens, the brilliant Grecian capital, in the form 
of an epic poem, in the Maya language. Each line of said 
poem, formed by a composed word, is the name of one of the 
letters of the Greek alphabet, rearranged, as we have it, four 
hundred and three years before the Christian era, under the 
archonship of Euclydes. 

' 3 Kings, chap, xxii., verse 14 et passim; also 2 Chronicles, chap, 
xxxiv., verse 34. 

' See Appendix, note iii. 

Plate I. 


Fleeing from the -wrath of her brother Aac, Queen Moo 
directed her course toward the rising sun, in the hope of 
finding shelter in some of the remnants of the Land of 
Mu, as the Azores, for instance. Failing to fall in with such 
place of refuge as she was seeking, she continued her jour- 
ney eastward, and at last reached the Maya colonies that 
for many years had been established on the banks of the 
Nile. The settlers received her with open arms, called 
her the "little sister," iaiii (/sis), and proclaimed her their 

Before leaving her mother-country in the "West she had 
caused to be erected, not only a memorial hall to the memory 
of her brother-husband, but also a superb mausoleum in which 
were placed his remains and a statue representing him. On 
the top of the monmnent was his totem, a dying leopard with 
a human head — a veritable sphinx. Once established in the 
land of her adoption, did she order the erection of another of 
his totems — again a leopard with human head — to preserve 
his memory among her followers? The names inscribed on 
the base of the Egyptian sphinx seem to suggest this conjec- 
ture. Through the ages, this Egyptian sphinx has been the 
enigma of history. Has its solution at last been given by the 
ancient Maya archives ? 

In the appendix are presented, for the first time in modern 
ages, the cosmogonic notions of the ancient Mayas, re-discov- 
ered by me. They will be found identical with those of the 
other civilized nations of antiquity. In them are embodied 
many of the secret doctrines communicated, in their initia- 
tions, to the adepts in India, Chaldea, Egypt, and Samothra- 
cia, — the origin of the worship of the cross, of that of the 
tree and of the serpent, introduced in India by the Nagas, who 


raised such a magnificent temple in Cambodia, in the city of 
Angor-Thora, to their god, the seven-headed serpent, the Ah- 
ac-cliapat of the Mayas, and afterward carried its worship 
to Akkad and to Babylon. In these cosmogonic notions we 
also find the reason why the number ten was held most sacred 
hy all civilized nations of antiquity ; and why the Mayas, who 
in their scheme of numeration adopted the decimal system, did 
not reckon by tens but by fives and twenties; and whj' they 
used the twenty-milHonth part of half the meridian as stand- 
ard of lineal measures. 

In the following pages I simply offer to my readers the re- 
lation of certain facts I have learned from the sculptures, the 
monumental inscriptions carved on the walls of the ruined pal- 
aces of the Mayas ; the record of which is likewise contained 
in such of their books as have reached us. I venture only such 
explanations as wiU make clear their identity with the concep- 
tions, on the same subjects, of the wise men of India, Chaldea, 
Egypt, and Greece. I do not ask my readers to accept d priori 
my own conclusions, but to follow the sound advice contained 
in the Indian sajdng quoted at the beginning of this preface, 
" Verify hy experience what you have learned ; " then, and only 
then, tovm your own opinion. When formed, hold fast to it, 
although it may be contrary to your preconceived ideas. In 
order to help in the verification of the facts herein presented, I 
have illustrated this book Avith photographs taken in situ, 
drawings and plans according to actual, careful surveys, made 
by me, of the monuments. The accuracy of said drawings and 
plans can be easily proved on the photogra])hs themselves. I 
have besides given many references Avhose correctness it is not 
diificult to ascertain. 

This is not a book of romance or imagination; but a work — 


one of a series— intended to give ancient America its proper 
place in the universal history of the world. 

I have been accused of promulgating notions on ancient 
America contrary to the opinion of men regarded as authori- 
ties on American archseology. And so it is, indeed. Mine is 
not the fault, however, although it may be mj'- misfortune, 
since it has surely entailed upon me their enmity and its conse- 
quences. 'Qntyf^xo ascefhose pretended authorities? Certainly 
not the doctors and professors at the head of the universities 
and colleges in the United States ; for not only do they know 
absolutely nothing of ancient American civilization, but, judg- 
ing from letters in my possession, the majority of them refuse 
to learn anything concerning it. 

It may be inquired. On what ground can those who have 
published books on the subject, in Europe or in the United 
States, establish their claim to be regarded as authorities? 
"What do they know of the ancient Mayas, of their customs 
and manners, of their scientific or artistic attainments? Do 
they understand the Maya language? Can they interpret 
one single sentence of the . books in Avhioh the learning of the 
Maya sages, their cosmogonic, geographical, religious, and 
scientific attainments, are recorded ? From what source have 
they derived their pretended knowledge? JSTot from the 
writings of the Spanish chroniclers, surely. These onljr 
wrote of the natives as they found them at the time of and 
long after, the conquest of America by their countiymen, 
whose fanatical priests destroyed by fire the only sources of 
information — the books and ancient records of the Maya 
philosophers and historians. Father Lopez de Cogolludo in 
his " Historia de Yucathan," ' frankly admits that in his time 
■Cogolludo, Hixtoria de Yucathan, lib. iv., cap. iii., p. 177. 

xxii PREFACE. 

no information could be obtained concerning the ancient his- 
tory of the Mayas. He says: "Of the peoples who first 
settled in this kingdom of Yucathan, or their ancient history, 
I have been unable to obtain any other data than those which 
follow." The Spanish chroniclers do not give one reliable 
word about the manners and customs of the builders of the 
grand antique edifices, that were objects of admiration to 
them as they are to modern travellers. The only answer of 
the natives to the inquiries of the Spaniards as to who the 
builders were, invariably was, We do not Tcnow. 

For fear of wounding the pride of the pseudo-authorities, 
shall the truth learned from the works of the Maya sages and 
the inscriptions carved on the walls of their deserted temples 
and palaces be withheld from the world? Must the errors 
they propagate be allowed to stand, and the propagators not 
be called upon to prove the truth of their statements ? 

The so-called learned men of our days are the first to 
oppose new ideas and the bearers of these. This opposition 
will continue to exist until the arrogance and self-conceit of 
superficial learning that still hover within the walls of colleges 
and universities have completely vanished; until the generalitj'' 
of intelligent men, taking the trouble to think for themselves, 
cease to accept as implicit truth the ijyse dixit of any quidam 
who, pretending to know all about a certain subject, pro- 
nounces magisterially upon it; until intelligent men no longer 
follow blindly such self-appointed teachers, always keeping in 
mind that " to accept any authority as filial, and to dispense 
with the necessity of independent investigation, is destructive 
of all progress." For, as Dr. Paley says: " There is a princi- 
ple which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance; 
this principle is contempt prior to examination. ' ' 

PREFACE. xxiii 

The question is often asked, " Of what practical utility can . 
the knowledge that America was possibly the cradle of man's 
civilization be to mankind? " To some, of but little use truly; 
but many there are who would be glad to know the origin of 
man's primitive traditions recorded in sacred books in the shape 
of myths or legends, and what were the incidents that served 
as basis on which has been raised the fabric of the various reli- 
gions that have existed and do exist among men, have been 
and stiU are the cause of so many wars, dissensions, and per- 
secutions. This knowledge would also serve to disclose the 
source whence emanated all those superstitions that have 
been and are so many obstacles in the way of man's physical, 
intellectual, and moral progress; and to free his mind from 
aU such trammels, and make of him, what he claims to be, 
the most perfect work of creation on earth; also to make 
known the fact that Mayach — not India — is the true mother 
of nations. 

Then, perhaps, will be awakened, in the mind of those in 
whose power it is to do it, a desire to save and preserve what 
remains of the mural inscriptions carved on the Avails of the 
ruined palaces and temples of the Mayas, that are being torn 
to pieces by individuals commissioned by certain institutions in 
the United States and other places to obtain curios to adorn 
their museums, regardless of the fact that they are destroying 
the remaining pages of ancient American history with the 
recldess hand of ignorance, thus making themselves guiltj' of 
the crime of leze-history as well as of iconoclasm. 

Perhaps also Avill be felt the necessity of recovering the 
libraries of the Maya sages (hidden about the beginning of 
the Christian era to save them from destruction at the hands 
of the devastating hordes that invaded their country in those 

xxiv PREFACE. 

times), and to learn from their contents the wisdom of those 
ancient philosophers, of which that preserved in the books 
of the Brahmins is but the reflection. That wisdom was no 
doubt brought to India, and from there carried to Babylon 
and Egypt in very remote ages by those Maya adepts (Naacal 
— "the exalted "), who, starting from the land of their birth 
as missionaries of religion and civilization, went to Burmah, 
where they became known as Nagas, established themselves 
in the Delckan, whence they carried their civilizing work aR 
over the earth. 

At the request of friends, and to show that the reading of 
Maya inscriptions and books is no longer an unsolved enigma, 
and that those who give themselves as authorities on ancient 
Maya palaeography are no longer justified in guessing at, or in 
forming theories as to the meaning of the Maya sjnnbols 
or the contents of said writings, I have translated verbatim 
the legend accompanying the image, in stucco, of a human 
sacrifice that adorned the frieze of the celebrated temple of 
Kabul at Izamal. 

This legend I have selected because it is written with hie- 
ratic Maya characters, that are likewise Egyptian.^ Any one 
who can read hieratic Egyptian inscriptions will have no diffi- 
culty in translating said legend b)'^ the aid of a Maya diction- 
ary, and thus finding irrefutable evidence: 1. That Mayas and 
Egyptians must have learned the art of writing from the same 
masters. Who were these ? 2. That some of the ruined mon- 
uments of Yucatan are very ancient, much anterior to the 
Christian era, notwithstanding the opinion to the contrary of 
the self-styled authorities on Maya civilization. 3. That 

' See Le Plongeon's ancient Maya hienitic alphabet compared with the 
Egyptian liieratic alphabet, in S(U-ird Jfi/xlcrius, Introduction, p. xii. 


nothing now stands in the way of acquiring a perfect knowledge 
of the manners and customs, of the scientific attainments, reli- 
gious and cosmogonic conceptions, of the history of the builders 
of the ruined temples and palaces of the Mayas. 

May this work receive the same acceptance from students of 
American archaeology and universal history as was vouchsafed 
to " Sacred Mysteries among the Mayas and the Quiches." It 
is written for the same purpose and in the same spirit. 

Augustus Le Plongeon, M.D. 
New York, January, 1896. 



The country known to-day as Yucatan, one of the states 
of the Mexican confederacy, may indeed be justly regai-ded 
by the ethnologist, the geologist, the naturalist, the philologist, 
the archaeologist, and the historian as a most interesting field 
of study. Its area of seventy-three thousand square miles, 
covered with dense forests, is liter allj' strewn with the ruins of 
numerous antique cities, majestic temples, stately palaces, 
the work of learned architects, now heaps of debris crumbling 
under the inexorable tooth of time and the impious hand of 
iconoclastic collectors of relics for museums. Among these the 
statues of priests and kings, mutilated and defaced by the 
action of the elements, the hand of time and that of man, lie 
prostrate in the dust. Walls covered with bas-reliefs, inscrip- 
tions and sculptures carved in marble, containing the pane- 
gyrics of rulers, the history of the nation, its cosmogonical 
traditions, the ancient religious rites and observances of its 


people, inviting decipherment, attract the attention of the 
traveller. The geological formation of its stony soil, so full of 
curious deposits of fossil shells of the Jurassic period (Plate I.); 
its unexplored caves, supposed dwellings of sprites and elves, 
creatures of the fanciful and superstitious imagination of the 
natives; its subterraneous streams of cool and limpid water, 
inhabited by bagres and other fish — are yet to be studied by 
modern geologists ; whilst its flora and fauna, so rich and so 
diversified, but imperfectly known, await classification at the 
hand of naturalists. 

The peculiar though melodious vernacular of the natives, 
preserved through the lapse of ages, despite the invasions 
of barbaric tribes, the persecutions by Christian conquerors, 
ignorant, avaricious, and bloodthirsty, or fanatical monks 
who believed they pleased the Almighty by destroying a civ- 
ilization equal if not superior to theirs, is fuU of interest 
for the philologist and the ethnologist. Situated between 18° 
and 21° 35' of latitude north, and 86° 50' and 90° 35' of longi- 
tude west from the Greenwich meridian, Yucatan forms the 
peninsula that divides the Mexican Gulf from the Caribbean 

Bishop Landa ^ informs us that when, at the beginning of 
the year 1517, Francisco Hernandez de Cordova, the first of 
the Spaniards who set foot in the country of the Mayas, landed 
on a small island which he called Mugeres, the inhabitants, on 
being asked the name of the country, answered U-luumil 
cell (the land of the deer) and U-luumil cutz (the land of 
the turkey).' Until then the Europeans were ignorant of the 
existence of such a place; for although Juan Diaz Solis and 

' See Appendix, note i. 

' Diego de Liinda, Relacion delas Cosas de Tuctitan, chap, ii., p. 6. 


Vicente Yanes Piuzon came in sight of its eastern coasts in 
1506, thejr did not land nor make known their discovery.^ 

Herrera, in his Decadas, tells us that when Columbus, in 
his fourth voyage to America, was at anchor near the island 
of Pinos, in the year 1502, his ships were boarded by Maya 
navigators. These came from the west; from the country 
known to its inhabitants under the general name of the Great 
Can (serpent) and the Cat-ayo (cucumber tree).^ The penin- 
sula, then divided into many districts or provinces, each gov- 
erned by an independent ruler who had given a peculiar title 
to his own dominions, seems to have had no general name. 
One district was called Cliacan, another Cepecli, another 
Clioaca, another Mayapaii, and so on.^ Mayapan, how- 
ever, was a very large district, whose king was regarded as 
suzerain by the other chieftains, previous to the destruction of 
his capital by the people, headed by the nobility, they having 
become tired of his exactions and pride. This rebellion is said 
to have taken place seventy-one years before the advent of the 
Spanish adventurers in the country. The powerful dynasty 
of the Coconies, which had held tyrannical sway over the 
land for more than two centuries, then came to an end.^ 

Among the chroniclers and historians, several have ven- 
tured to give an etjonology of the word Maya. None, how- 
ever, seem to have known its true origin. The reason is very 

At the time of the invasion of the country by the turbu- 

' Antonio de Herrera, Hist, general de los heclios de los Castellanos en las 
islas y la tierrafirme del Omano. (JIadrid, 1601.) Decada 1, lib. 6, cap. 17. 

= Ibid. Decada 1, lib. 5, cap. 13. 

^ Landa, Relacion, etc., cliap. v., p. 30. 

•■ Cogolludo, Historiade Yucathaii, lib. iv., cap. iii., p. 179. See Appen- 
di.Y, note ii. 


lent and barbaric Wahuatls, the books containing the record of 
the ancient traditions, of the history of past ages, from the 
settlement of the peninsula by its primitive inhabitants, had 
been carefully hidden (and have so remained to this day) by 
the learned philosophers, and the wise priests who had charge 
of the libraries in the temples and colleges, in order to save the 
precious volumes from the hands of the barbarous tribes from 
the west. These, entering the country from the south, came 
spreading ruin and desolation. They destroyed the principal 
cities ; the images of the heroes, of the great men, of the cele- 
brated women, that adorned the public squares and edifices. 
This invasion took place in the year 522, or thereabout, of the 
Christian era, according to the opinion of modern computers. ' 
As a natural consequence of the destruction, by the invad- 
ers, of Chichen-Itza, then the seat of learning, the Itzaes, 
preferring ostracism to submitting to their vandal-like con- 
querors, abandoned their homes and colleges, and became wan- 
derers in the desert.^ Then the arts and sciences soon declined; 
with their degeneracy came that of civilization. Civil war — 
that inevitable consequence of invasions — political strife, and 
religious dissension broke out before long, and caused the dis- 
memberment of the kingdom, that culminated in the sack and 
burning of the city of Mayapan and the extinction of the 
royal family of the Cocomesin li20 a.d., two hundred and 
seventy years after its foundation.^ In the midst of the social 
cataclysms that gave the cou^) de grdce to the Maya civiliza- 

1 Philip J. J. Valentiiii, Katunes of the Maya History, p. 54. 

= Juan Pio Perez (Codex Maya), TJ Tzolau Katunil tl Mayab (g 7): 
"Laixtun u Katunil binciob AU-Ytzaob yalan che, yalan 
abaii, yalan ak ti nuniyaob lac." ("Toward that time, tlien, the 
Itzaes went in the forests, lived under the trees, under the prune trees, 
under the vines, and were very miserable.") 

" Cogolludo, lUstoria de Yncatlmn, lib. iv. , cap. 3, p. 179. 


tion, the old traditions and lore were forgotten or became dis- 
figured. Ingrafted with the traditions, superstitions, and 
fables of the Nahuatls, they assumed the shape of myths. 
The great men and women of the primitive ages were trans- 
formed into the gods of the elements and of the phenomena of 

The ancient libraries having disappeared, new books had to 
be written. They contained those myths. The Troano and 
the Dresden MSS. seem to belong to that epoch.* They con- 
tain, besides some of the old cosmogonical traditions, the tenets 
and precepts of the new religion that sprang from the blend- 
ing of the ceremonies of the antique form of worship of the 
Mayas with the superstitious notions, the sanguinary rites, 
and the obscene practices of the phallic cult of the ISTahuatls ; 
the laws of the land; and the vestiges of the science and knowl- 
edge of the philosophers of past ages that still lingered among 
some of the noble families, transmitted as heirlooms, by word 
of mouth, from father to son.^ These books were written in 
new alphabetical letters and some of the ancient demotic or 
popular characters that, being known to many of the nobil- 
ity, remained in usage. 

With the old orders of priesthood, and the students, the 
knowledge of the hieratic or sacred mode of writing had 
disappeared. The legends graven on the facades of the tem- 
ples and palaces, being written in those characters, were no 

' See Appendix, note iii. 

'' Diego de Landa, Rdacion de las Cosas de Yucatan (chap, vii., p. 42): 
"Que ensenavan los hijos de los otros sacerdotes, ya los hijos segundos 
de los senores que los llevaban para esto desde ninos." 

Lizana (chap. 8), Ilistoria de Nuestra SeUora de Ytzamal : " La historia y 
autores que podemos alegar son unos caracteres mal cutendldos do muclios 
y glossados de unos indios autiguos que sou hijos de los sacerdotes de sus 
dieses, que son los que solo sabian leer y adevinar." 


longer understood, except perhaps by a few archaeologists, who 
were sworn to secrecy. The names of the builders, their his- 
tory, that of the phenomena of nature they had witnessed, 
the tenets of the religion they had professed — aU contained, 
as we have said, in the inscriptions that covered these antique 
walls — were as much a mystery to the people, as to the mul- 
titudes which have since contemplated them with amazement, 
during centuries, to the present day. 

Bishop Landa, speaking of the edifices at Izamal, asserts ' 
that the ancient buildings of the Mayas, at the time of the 
arrival of the Spaniards in Yucatan, were already heaps of 
ruins — objects of awe and veneration to the aborigines who 
lived in their neighborhood. They had lost, he sa3's, the 
memory of those who built them, and of the object for which 
thej'^ had been erected. Yet before their eyes were their 
fagades, covered with sculptures, inscriptions, figures of human 
beings and of animals, in the round and in bas-relief, in a 
better state of preservation than they are now, not having 
then suffered so much injury at the hand of man, for the 
natives regarded them, as their descendants do still, with rev- 
erential fear. There were recorded the legends of the ]3ast — 
a dead letter for them as for the learned men of the present 
age. There, also, on the interior walls of many apartments, 
were painted in bright colors pictures that would grace the 
parlors of our mansions, representing the events in the history 
of certain personages Avho had flourished at the dawn of the 
life of their nation; scenes that had been enacted in former 
ages were portrayed in very beautiful bas-reliefs. But these 
speaking tableaux Avere, for the majority of the people, as 

• Landa, Relacion dc his Cosas (p. 338): " Que cstos edificios lU' Izaiiud 
eran .\i it xii por todos, sin aver menioria de los fuudadores." 


much enigmas as they are to-day. Still travellers and sci- 
entists are not wanting who pretend that these strange build- 
ings were constructed by the same race noAV inhabiting the 
peninsula or by their near ancestors ' — regardless of CogoUudo's 
assertion^ "that it is not known who their builders were, and 
that the Indians themselves preserved no traditions on the sub- 
ject;" unmindful, likewise, of these words of Lizana: "That 
when the Spaniards came to this country, notwithstanding 
that some of the monuments appeared new, as if they had 
been built only twenty years, the Indians did not live in them, 
but used them as temples and sanctuaries, offering in them 
sacrifices, sometimes of men, women, and children; and that 
their construction dated back to a very high antiquity." ^ 

The historiographer ^ar excellence of Yucatan, Cogolludo, 
informs us that in his day — the middle of the seventeenth 
century — scarcely a little more than one hundred years after 
the Conquest, the memory of these adulterated traditions was 
already fading from the mind of the aborigines. " Of the 
people who first settled in this kingdom of Yucathan," he says, 
"nor of their ancient history, have I been able to find any 
more data than those I mention here. " ■* 

The books and other writings of the chroniclers and his- 
torians, from the Spanish conquest to our times, should there- 
fore be considered well-nigh valueless, so far as the history of 
the primitive inhabitants of the country, the events that tran- 
spired in remote ages, and ancient traditions in general are 

' John L. Stephens, Incidents of Travels in Yucatan, vol. ii., p. 458. DS- 
sir6 Charnay, North American Review, April, 1883. 

' Diego Lopez de Cogolludo, Ilistoria de Yucathan, lib. iv., chap, iii., 
p. 177. 

° Lizana, Ilistoria de Ntiestra Seflora de Ytznmal, chap. ii. 

' Cogolludo, Ilistoria de Yucathan, lib. iv., chap, iii., p. 177. 


concerned, seeing that CogoUudo says they were unable to pro- 
cure any information on the subject. " It seems to me that it 
is time," he says, "to speak of the various things pertaining 
to this country, and of its natives; not, however, with the ex- 
tension some might desire, mentioning in detaU. their origin 
and the countries whence they may have come, for it would be 
difficult for me to ascertain now that which so many learned 
men were unable to find out at the beginning of the Conquest, 
even inquiring with great diligence, as they affirm, particu- 
larly since there exist no longer any papers or traditions among 
the Indians concerning the first settlers from whom they are 
descended; our evangelical ministers, who imported the faith, 
in order to radically extirpate idolatry, ha^dng burned aU char- 
acters and paintings they could get hold of in which were 
written their histories, and that in order to take from them 
all remembrances of their ancient rites." ' 

Those who undertook to write the narrative of the Con- 
quest and the history of the country, in order to procure the 
necessary data for this, had naturally to interrogate the na- 
tives. These were either unable or unwilling to impart the 
knowledge sought. It may be that some of those from whom 
inquiries were made were descendants of the Kahuatls, igno- 
rant of the ancient history of the Mayas. Others may have 
been some of the Mexican mercenaries who dwelt on the coasts, 
where they were barely tolerated by the other inhabitants, 
because of their sanguinary practices. They, from the first, 
had welcomed the Spaniards as friends and allies — had main- 
tained with them intimate relations during several years,'^ be- 

' CogoUudo, iristoria de Yticathan, lib. iv., chap, iii., p. 170. 

' Nakiik Pecli. Au ancient document concerning the Nakuk Pech 
family, Lords of Cliicxulub, Yucatan. This is an original document be- 
longing to Srs. Rogil y Peon, of !Merida, Yucatan. 


fore the invaders ventured into the interior of the country. 
Fearing that if they pleaded ignorance of the history it might 
be ascribed to unwillingness on their part to answer the ques- 
tions ; dreading also to alienate the goodwill of the men with 
long gowns, who defended them against the others that handled 
the thunderbolts — those strangers covered with iron, now mas- 
ters of the country and of their persons, who on the slightest 
provocation subjected them to such terrible punishments and 
atrocious torments — they recited the nursery tales with which 
their mothers had lulled them to sleep in the days of their 
childhood. These stories were set down as undoubted tradi- 
tions of olden times. 

Later on, when the Conquest was achieved, some of the 
natives who really possessed a knowledge of the myths, tra- 
ditions, and facts of history contained in the books that those 
same men with long gowns had wilfully destroyed by feed- 
ing the flames with them, notwithstanding the earnest prot- 
estations of the owners, invented plausible tales when ques- 
tioned, and narrated these as facts, unwilling, as they were, to 
tell the truth to foreigners who had come to their country un- 
invited, arms in hand, carrying war and desolation wherever 
they went ; ' slaughtering the men ; ^ outraging the wives and 
the virgins ; ' destroying their homes, their farms, their cities ; * 
spreading ruin and devastation throughout the land;^ dese- 

' Cogolludo, Sistoria de Yucathan, lib. ii., chap, vi., p. 77. 

^ Landa, Las Corns de Tucata?i, chap. xv. , p. 84, et passim. Bernal Diez 
de Castillo, Historia de la Conquista de Mexico, chap. 83. 

^ Landa, Las Cosas de Yuuitan, chap, xv., p. 84. Bartholome de laa Ca- 
sas, Tratado de la Destruccion de las Indias, Meyno de Yucathan, lib. viii., 
cap. 27, p. 4. 

' Cogolludo, Hist, de Yuaitlian, lib. iii., chap, xi., p. 151. Landa, Las 
Cosas, ch. iv. 

' Hid. 


crating the temples of their gods; trampling underfoot the 
sacred images, the venerated symbols of the religion of their 
forefathers; ^ imposing upon them strange idols, that they said 
were likenesses of the only true God and of his mother ^ — an 
assertion that seemed most absurd to those worshippers of the 
sun, moon, and other celestial bodies, who regarded Ku, the 
Divine Essence, the uncreated Soul of the World, as the only 
Supreme God, not to be represented under any shape. Yet, 
by lashes, torture, death even, the victims were compelled to 
pay homage to these images, with rites and ceremonies the 
purport of which they were, as their descendants stiU are, 
unable to understand, being at the same time forbidden to 
observe the religious practices which they had been accustomed 
to from times immemorial.' More, their temples of learning 
were destroyed, with their hbraries and the precious volumes 
that contained the history of their nation, that of their illus- 
trious men and women whose memory they venerated, the 

' Cogolludo, Hist, de Yucatlian, lib. hi., cliap. x., p. 147. Landa, Las 
Oosas, chap. iv. 

^ Ibid., lib. iv., chap, xviii., p. 329. Landa, Las Cosas, chap. iv. 

^ Landa, Las Oosas de Yucatan, cliap. xli., p. 316. 

Cogolludo, Hist, de Yucathan, lib. iv., chap, vi., p. 189. "Los religiosos 
de esta provincia, por cuya ateucion corrid la couversiou de estos iudios, a 
nuestra santa f6 catolica, con el zelo que tieuen de que aprouechassen en 
ella, no solo demolieron y quemaron todos los simulacros que adorabau, 
pero aun todos los escritos (que a su modo tenian) cou que pudieran re- 
cordar sus meinorias y todo lo que presuniiero tendria motiuo de alguna 
supersticion 6 ritos gentilicos." 

Then when speaking of the auto-de-fe ordered by Bishop Landa, which 
took place in tlie city of Mani towards the end of 1561, he says : " Con el 
rezelo de esta idolatria, hizo juntar todos los libros y caracteres antiguos 
que los indios tenian, y por quitarles toda ocasion y memoria de sus anti- 
guos ritos, quautos se pudieron hallar, se quemaron publicamente el dia del 
auto y a las bueltas con cllos sus historias de antiguedades " (lib. vi., chap, 
i., p. 309). 


sciences of their wise men and philosophers.* How, then, could 
it be expected that they should tell what they knew of the his- 
tory of their people, and treat as friends men whom they 
hated, and with reason, from their heart of hearts? — men 
who held their gods in contempt ; men who had, without prov- 
ocation, destroyed the autonomy of their nation, broken up 
their families, reduced their kin to slavery, brought misery 
upon them, gloom and mourning throughout the land.^ 

Now that three hundred and fifty -five years have elapsed 
since their country became part of the domain of the Spanish 
Crown, one might think, and not a few do try to persuade 
themselves and others, that old feuds, rancor, and distrust 
must be forgotten; in fact, must be replaced by friendship, 
confidence, gratitude, even, for all the ilessin^s received at the 
hands of the Spaniards — not the least among these, the de- 
struction of their idolatrous rites, the hnowledge of the true 
God, and the mode of worshipping He likes best — notwith- 
standing the unfair means used by their good friends, those of 
the long gowns, to force such hlessings and knowledge upon 
them, and cause them to forget and forego the customs and 
manners of their forefathers.^ To-day, when the aborigines 
are said to le free citizens of the Eepublic of Mexico, entitled 
to all the rights and privileges that the constitution is sup- 
posed to confer on all men born within the boundaries of the 
country, they yet seek — and with good cause — the seclusion of 
the recesses of the densest forests, far away from the haunts 
of their white fellow-citizens, to perform, in secrecj', certain 
ancient rites and religious practices that even now linger 

' Cogolludo, Hist, de Yucathan, lib. ii., chap, xiv., p. 108, et passim 
' Landa, Las Gosas de Yucatan, chap, xv., p. 84, et passim. 
" Cogolludo, Hist, de Yucathan, lib. v., cap. xvii., xviii., p. 296, et jias- 
sim. Las leyes mas en orden al Jiien espii'itual de los Iiidios. 


among them, to -which they adhere with great tenacity, and 
that the persecution and ill-treatment they have endured have 
been powerless to extirpate.* Yes, indeed, up to the present 
time, they keep whatever knowledge of their traditions they 
may still possess carefully concealed in their bosoms; their Ups 
are hermetically sealed on that subject. 

Their confidence in, their respect and friendship for, one not 
of their blood and race must be very great, for them to aUow 
him to witness their ceremonies, or become acquainted with 
the import of certain practices, or be told the meaning of pecul- 
iar signs and symbols, transmitted to them orally by their 
fathers. This reserve may be the reason why some travellers, 
unable to obtain any information from the aborigines, have 
erroneously asserted that they have lost all traditionary lore; 
that all tradition has entirely disappeared from among them.' 

Maya was the name of a powerful nation that in remote 
ages dwelt in the peninsula of Yucatan and the countries, 
to-day called Central America, comprised between the Isthmus 
of Tehuantepec on the north and that of Darien on the south. 
That name was as well known among the ancient civilized 
nations the world over as at present are the names of Spain, 
France, England, etc. As from these countries colonists, 
abandoning the land of their birth, have gone and still go 
forth in search of new homes in far distant regions ; have car- 
ried and do carry, with the customs, manners, religion, civiliza- 
tion, and language of their forefathers, the name even of the 
mother country to their new abodes — so we may imagine it 
happened with the Mayas at some remote period in the past. 

' See Appendix, note iv. ; Cogolludo, Hist, de Tucathan, lib. v., cap. 
xvi., xvii., xviii. 

* John L. Stephens, Incidents of Travels in Tvcatan, vol. ii., pp. 446, 449. 


For it is a fact that, wherever we find their name, there also 
we meet with the vestiges of their language and customs, and 
many of their traditions; but nowhere, except in Yucatan, is 
the origin of their name to be found. 

Among the various authors who have written on that coun- 
try several have endeavored to give the etymology of the 
word Maya : none has succeeded; for, instead of consulting 
the Maya books that escaped destruction at the hands of the 
Zumarragas, Landas, and Torquemadas, they have appealed 
to their imagination, as if in their fancy they could find the 
motives that prompted the primitive inhabitant to apply such 
or such name to this or that locality. 

Kamon de Ordonez y Aguiar ' fancied that the name Maya 
was given to the peninsula on account of the scarcity of water 
on its surface, and intimated that it was derived from the two 
vocables ma, "no," and ha, "water" — "without water." 
Brasseur," following his own pet idea, combats such explana- 
tion as incorrect and says: "The country is far from being 
devoid of water. Its soil is honeycombed, and innumerable 
caves exist just under the surface. In these caves are deposits 
of cool, limpid water, extensive lakes fed by subterranean 
streams." Hence he argues that the true etymology of the 
word Maya may possibly be the " mother of the waters " or 
the "teats of the waters ma-y-a" — she of the four hundred 
breasts, as they were Avont to represent the Ephesian goddess. 

Again, this explanation did not suit Seiior Eligio Ancona,^ 

' Ramon de Ordonez y Aguiar, the author of Sistoria de la Oreacion del 
cielo y dela Tierra, was a native of the ciudad Real de Cliiapas. He died, 
very much advanced in years, in 1840, being canon of the cathedral of that 

' Brasseur (Charles Etienne), Maya Vocabulary, vol. ii., p. 398, Troano MS. 

' Ancona (Eligio), Hist. deYucatan, vol. i., chap. i. See Appendix, note v. 


for he ridicules the etymologists. " What nonsense," he says, 
"to thus rack their brains ! They must be out of their mind 
to give themselves the work of bringing forth these erudite 
elucidations to explain the word Maya, that everybody knows 
is a mere Spanish corruption of Mayab, the ancient name of 
the country." In asserting that the true name {nombre ver- 
dadero) of the peninsula in ancient times was Mayab, Senor 
Ancona does not sustain his assertion by any known historical 
document; he merely refers to the Maya dictionary of Pio 
Perez, that he himself has published. He is likewise silent as 
to the source from which Senor Pio Perez obtained his infor- 
mation concerning the ancient name of the peninsula. 

Landa, GogoUudo, Lizana,' all accord in stating that the 
land was called TJ-luumil ceh, "the land of the deer." 
Herrera ^ says it was called Beb (a very thorny tree), and the 
"great serpent " Can ; but we see in the Troano MS. that this 
was the name of the whole of the Maya Empire, not the 
peninsula alone. Senor Ancona, notwithstanding his sneers, is 
not quite sure of being right in his criticism, for he also tries 
his hand at etymologizing. Taking for granted that the state- 
ment of Lizana is true, that at some time or other two differ- 
ent tribes had invaded the country and that one of these tribes 
was more numerous than the other, he pretends that the word 
Mayab was meant to designate the weaker, being composed, 
as he says, of Ma, "not," and yab, "abundant." 

I myself, on the strength of the name given to the birthplace 
of their ancestors by the Egjrptians, and on that of the tradition 
handed down among the aborigines of Yucatan, admitting 
that one of the names given to the peninsula, Mayab, was cor- 

' See Appendix, note v. 

' Autonio de Herrera, Decada 1, lib. 7, chap. 17. 


rect ; considering, moreover, the geological formation of its soil, 
its porousness ; remembering, besides, that the meaning of the 
wordMayab is a "sieve," a " tammy," I wrote: * " It is very 
difficult, without the help of the books of the learned priests of 
Mayab, to know positively why they gave that name to their 
country. I can only surmise that they called it so from the great 
absorbent quality of its stony soil, which in an incredibly short 
time absorbs the water at the surface. This water, percolating 
through the pores of the stone, is afterward found filtered, clear 
and cool, in the senates asnA caves, where it forms vast deposits." 
When I published the foregoing Lines, in 1881, I had not 
studied the contents of the Troano MS. I was therefore 
entirely ignorant of its historical value. The discovery of a 
fragment of mural painting, in the month of February, 1882,^ 
on the walls of an apartment in one of the edifices at Kabah, 
caused me to devote many months to the study of the Maya 
text of that interesting old document. It was with consider- 
able surprise that I then discovered that several pages at the 
beginning of the second part are dedicated to the recital of the 
awful phenomena that took place during the cataclysm that 
caused the submersion of ten countries, among which the " Land 
of Mu," that large island probably called "Atlantis" by 
Plato ; and the formation of the strangely crooked line /" N^ 
of islands known to us as " "West Indies," but as the " Land of 
the Scorpion " to the Mayas.' I was no less astonished than 
gratified to find an account of the events in the life of the per- 
sonages whose portraits, busts, and statues I had discovered 
among the ruins of the edifices raised by them at Chichen 

' Aug. Le Plongeon, Vestiges of the Mayas, p. 36. 

^ North American i?OTi«w, April, 1882. " Explorations of the Ancient 
Cities of Central America, " D6sir6 Charnay. 
' Troano MS., part ii., plates vi., vii. 


and Uxmal, whose history, portrayed in the mural paintings, 
is also recounted in the legends and the sculptures still adorn- 
ing the walls of their palaces and temples ; and to learn that 
these ancient personages had already been converted, at the 
time the author of the Troano MS. wrote his book, into the 
gods of the elements, and made the agents who produced 
the terrible earthquakes that shook parts of the " Lands of the 
West ' ' to their very foundations, as told in the narrative of 
the Akalb-oib, and finally caused them to be engulfed by the 
waves of the Atlantic Ocean. ^ 

The author of the Troano MS. gives in his work the adjoin- 
ing map (Plate II.) of the " Land of the Beb " (mulberry tree), 
the Maya Empire.^ In it he indicates the localities which 
were submerged, and those that still remained above water, in 
that part of the world, after the cataclysm. 

In the legend explanatory of his object in drawing that 
chart, as i n many other places in his book,^ he gives the ser- 
pent head RVP" '^ kan, ' ' south, ' ' as symbol of the southern con- 

tinent. He represents the northern by this mon ogram 

that reads aac, " turtle. " By this sign s!20S^= placed between 

the two others, he intends to convey to the mind of his readers 
that the submerged places to which he refers are situated be- 
tween the two western continents, are bathed by the waters 
of the Mexican Gulf, and more particularly by those of the 
Caribbean Sea — figured by the image of an animal resem- 
bling a deer, placed over the legend. It is well to remark that 
this animal is typical of the submerged Antillean valleys, as it 
will plainly appear further on. 

' Troano MS., part ii., plates ii., iii., iv. 
' Ibid., vol. i., part ii., pi. x. 
'Ibid., pi. xxiv., XXV., ft jKoisim. 

Page xlii. 

Plate II. 


The lines lightly etched here are painted blue in the origi- 
nal. As in our topographical maps the edges of the water- 
courses, of the sea and lakes, are painted blue, so the Maya 
hierogrammatist figured the shores of the Mexican Gulf, indi- 
cated by the serpent head. The three signs n of locality, 
placed in the centre of said gulf, mark the site of the extin- 
guished volcano known to-day as the Alacrcmes reefs. The 
serpent head was, for the Maya writers, typical of the sea, 
whose billows they compared to the undulations of a serpent 
in motion. They therefore called the ocean canali, a Avord 
whose radical is can, " serpent," the meaning of which is the 
' ' mighty serpent. ' ' 

The lines of the drawing m ore stro ngly etched, the end of 
which corresponds to the sign g".'OC,= , are painted red, the 

color of clay, kaiicab, and indicate the localities that were 
submerged and turned into marshes. This complex sign is 
formed of the N O =J emblem of countries near or in the 
water, and of the cross, made of dotted lines, symbol of the 
cracks and crevices made on the surface of the earth by the 
escaping gases, represented by the dots . . . . , and of small 
circles, O , images of volcanoes. A.s to the character R^^5) it 
is composed of two letters /\, equivalent to Maya 
and Greek letter A, so entwined as to form the character X , 
equal to the Greek and Maya K, but forming a mon- -^^ 
ogram that reads aac, the Maya word for "turtle." 

Before proceeding with the etymology of the name May- 
ach, it may not be amiss to explain the legends and the other 
drawings of the tableau. It will be noticed that the charac- 
ters over that part of the drawing which looks like the hori- 
zontal branch of a tree are identical with those placed verti- 
cally against the trunk, but in an inverted position. It is, in 


fact, the same legend repeated, and so written for the better 
understanding of the map, and of the exact position of the 
various localities; that of the Mexican Gulf figured on the 
left, and of the ideographic or pictorial representation of the 
Caribbean Sea to the right of the tableau. In order to 
thoroughly comprehend the idea of the Maya author, it 
is indispensable to have a perfect knowledge of the con- 
tours of the seas and lands mentioned by him in this instance, 
even as they exist to-day. Of course, some slight changes 
since the epoch referred to' by him have naturally taken 
place, and the outlines of the shores are somewhat altered, 
particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, as can be ascertained 
by consulting maps made by the Spaniards at the time of the 

The adjoining map of Central America, the Antilles, and 
Gulf of Mexico, being copied from that published by the Bu- 
reau of Hydrography at "Washington, may be regarded as accu- 
rate (Plate III.). On it I have traced, in dotted lines, figures 
that will enable any one to easily understand why the Maya 
author symbolized the Caribbean Sea as a deer, and the empire 
of Mayach as a tree, rooted in the southern continent, and 
having a single branch, horizontal and pointing to the right, 
that is, in an easterly direction. 

A glance at the map of the "Drowned Valleys of the 
Antillean Lands" (Plate IV.), published by Professor J. "VV. 
Spencer, of "Washington, in the "Bulletin of the Geological 
Society of America" for January, 1895, which is reproduced 
here with the author's pennission, must convince any one 
that the ancient Maya geologists and geographers were 
not far behind their brother professors, in these sciences, 
of modern times, in their knowledge, at least, of those 

Page xliv. 

Plate III. 


Page xliv. 

Plate IV. 


parts of the earth they inhabited, and of the adjoining coun- 

The sign that most attracts the attention is >if^J | , tli^t 
Eishop Landa saji-s must be read Yax-kin, and 
that of the seventh month of the Maya calendar. Literally 
these words mean the " vigorous sun. " If, however, we inter- 
pret the symbol phonetically, it gives us "the country of 
the king, which is surrounded by water; " " the kingdom in the 
midst of water. " It will also be noticed that it is placed at the 
top of the tree, to indicate that that "tree" is the kingdom. 
Next to it, on the left, is the name Mayach, which indicates 
that it is the "kingdom of Mayach," which will be- ^ 
come plain by the analysis of the symbols. To begin with, / | 
is a wing or feather, insignia worn by kings and warriors. <^~-^ 
Placed here it has a double meaning. It denotes the north, 
as we Avill see later on, and also shows that the land is 
that of the king whose emblem it is. The character 
stands for ahau, the word for Icing, and we have already 

' Tlie adjoining map (Plate IV.) was constructed by Professor J. W. Spen- 
cer according to his own original researches and geological studies in the 
island of Cuba and in Central America, aided by the deep-sea soundings made 
in 1878 by Commander Bartlett of the United States steamship Blake. It 
can be therefore accepted as perfectly accurate. During a short stay in 
Belize, British Honduras, Commander Bartlett honored me with a visit. 
Speaking of his work of triangulation and deep-sea soundings in the Carib- 
bean Sea, he mentioned tlie existence of very profound valleys covered by its 
waters, revealed by the sound. I informed him tliat I had become cognizant 
of tliat fact, having found it mentioned by the author of that ancient Maya 
book known to-day as Troano MS. If my memory serves me right, I showed 
him the maps drawn by the writer of that ancient book, and made on a map 
in my copy of Bowditch's Navigation an approximate tracing of the sub- 
merged valleys in the Caribbean Sea, in explanation of the Maya maps, 
showing why they symbolized said sea by the figure of an animal resem- 
bling a deer — which may have been the reason why they called the country 
U-Iuumil cell, the " land of the deer." 


seen that this fcOa , luumil, is the symbol for ' ' land near, in, 
or surrounded ^^ by water," as the Empire of Mayach 
(the peninsula of Yucatan and Central America are certainly 
surrounded by water), on the north by the Gulf of Mexico, on 
the east by the Caribbean Sea, on the west and south by the 
Pacific Ocean. The symbol then reads Luumil ahau, the 
"King's country," the "kingdom." 

But how do you make your rendering accord with the 
meaning given to the character by Bishop Landa ? I fancy I 
hear our learned Americanists asking ; and I answer. In a very 
simple manner, knowing as I do the genius of the Maya people 
and their language. 

The ancient armorial escutcheon of the country still exists on 
the western facade of the " sanctuary " at Uxnial, and in the 
bas-reliefs carved on the memorial monu- 
ment of Prince Coli at Chichen. The 
emblem represented on said escutcheon 
scarcely needs explanation. It is easily 
read U-luumil kin, the ' ' Land of the 

The kings of Mayach, like those 
of Egypt, Chaldea, India, China, Peru, 
etc., took upon themselves the title of " Children of the Sun," 
and, in a boasting spirit, that of " the Strong, the Vigorous 
Sun." Kin is the Maya word for sun. But kin is also the 
title of the highpriest of the sun. As in Egypt and many 
other civilize4 countries, so in Mayacli, the king was, at 
the same time, chief of the state and of the relifi-ion, as in 
our times the Queen in England, the Czar in Kussia, the Sultan 
in Turkey, etc. The title Yax-kiu may therefore have been 
applied, among the Mayas, to the king and to the kingdom; 


and my rendering of the symbol >G^[^ does not conflict with 

that of Landa. fco 

In the tableau the Maya Empire is portrayed by the beb — 
a tree with the trunk full of thorns. The trunk is the image of 
the chain of mountains that traverses the whole country from 
north to south. There dwelt the masters of the earth, the 
Volcanoes. They gave it life, power, and strength. This 
chain is, as it were, its backbone. It terminates at the Isthmus 
of Darien, to the nri south. This is why the tree is planted 
in the character \_) kan, that Landa tells us was the name 
for south anciently.* At the north, the branch of the tree 
extends eastward, that is, to the right of the trunk. This 
branch, the peninsula of Yucatan, is represented by this 
symbol cX)^^, which, with but/^---y»^ a slight difference in 
the drawing, is the same as that I K^^pj placed in the verti- 
cal legend, in an invertedf^^Sa' position, against the 
trunk of the tree, by Avhich the author has designated the 
whole country, calling it ii Ma yach, the " land of the shoot," 
the "land of the veretnim,^^ from the name of the peninsula 
that seems to have been the seat of the government of the 
Maya Empire. 

The motive for the slight change in the drawing is easily 
explained. The peninsula jutting out into the sea from the 
mainland, as a shoot, a branch from the trunk of the tree, is in- 
dicated by the representation of a yach, a vere- j<^=~^ tnim, 
the base of which rests on the sign of land (x^^Jr, ma; 
or also of a shoot, projecting beyond two /^\iniix, symbols 
of two basins of water — that is, of the ^^*J^ Mexican Gulf 
and the Caribbean Sea — that are on each side of it. The 
whole hieroglyph, name of the peninsula, reads therefore 
' Landa, Las Corns de Yucatan, chap, xxxiv., p. 206. 


u-Mayacli, the place of the ancestor's veretrum, or of the 
shoot of the tree. 

These two imix differ somewhat in shape. The iniix 
h^>i(^/M is meant to designate the Caribbean Sea, the eastern 
^^Uili^ part of which being opened to the waves of the ocean 
is indicated by the wavy line AAAA/V\, emblem of water. In 
this instance it may also denote the mountains in the islands, 
that close it, ,^^-. a-s it were, toward the rising sun. The 
other imix L" * '\j stands for the Gulf of Mexico, a medi- 
terranean sea, completely land-locked, with a smaU entrance 
formed by the peninsula of Florida and that of Yucatan, 
and commanded by the island of Cuba. It is well to notice 
that, as has been already said, some of the signs in the hori- 
zontal legend are the same as those in the vertical legend, 
but placed in an inverse position with regard to one an- 
other. This is as it should naturally be. Of course, the 
particular names of the various localities in the country are 
somewhat different, and the signs indicating their position 
■with reference ~^ to the cardinal points are not the same. 
The symbol \^ imix, for instance, of the Mexican Gulf 
is placed in the vertical legend to the left, that is to the west, 
of the imix T j image of the Caribbean Sea, as it should 
certainly be ^^ if we look at the map of Central America 
from the south, when it is apparent that the Gulf of Mexico 
lies to the westward of the Caribbean Sea (mTiiI/. On the 
other hand, if we enter the country from the north, the 
Gulf of Mexico will be to the right, and the Caribbean Sea to 
the left, of the traveller, just as the Maya hierogrammatist 
placed them in the horizontal legend, ^J^mJC^mO- 

To return to the character \^ in which the foot of the tree 
is planted. Kan not only means "south," as we have just 


seen, but it has many other acceptations — all conveying the 
idea of might and power. It is a variation of can, ^^ 

"serpent." The serpent, vrith inflated breast, _^^?*^ 
suggested by the contour of the Maya Empire, was adopted as 
a symbol of the same. Its name became that of the dynasty 
of the Maya rulers, and their totem. "We see it sculptured 
on the walls of the temples and palaces raised by them. In 
Mayach, in Egypt, in China, in India, in Peru, and many 
other places the image of the serpent was the badge of royalty. 
It formed part of the headdress of the kings; it was embroid- 
ered on their royal garments.* Kliam, is still the title of the 
kings of Tartary, Burmah, etc. , that of the governors of prov- 
inces in Afghanistan, Persia, and other countries in central 

That the tree ■^v^^r"-^"— "^w was also meant by the author of 
the Troano MS. J I as symbol of the Maya Empire, 

there can be f 3 no doubt. He himself 

takes pains to \D inform us of the fact, 

Beb ixaacal (the beb has sprung up) between i ^ ^ , uuc 
luuniilob, the seven countries • • ♦ # of Can. 

The sign i i is painted red in the original, to indicate the 
arable land, kancab. i i was the symbol of land, coun- 

try, among the Mayas, as with the Egyptians; but the former 
used it also as numerical for five, to which, in this case, must 
be added the two units O O . So we have seven fertile lands. 

The four black dots • • • • are the numerical four, and 
another ideographic sign for the name of the country — Can, 
" serpent." This /Sj^/^ is why it is placed at the foot of the 
tree, lilce the sign ^^s' 1 1 at the top to signify that it is the 
kingdom. They \jj,7^ are juxtaposed to the character ^fl 
" Wilkinson, Customs and Manners, vol. i., p. 163 (illust.). 


kan, also, to denote its geographical position. It will be 
noticed that this sign was omitted in the horizontal legend, as 
it should be, since kan is the word for " south; " but it has 
been replaced by ix /6S\ (" north,") which sign has been in- 
corporated with the ^Qy sign, toeb, ^q^ thus ^°\ to show 
that this is the northern part of >0^ the ^o' tree — 
that is, of the country. 

There remains to be f^XXr^ explained what may be con- 
sidered, in the present y^irC iiistance, the most important 
character of the tableau, ^^^^ since it is the original name 
given, in the most remote ages, to that part of the Maya 
Empire known on our maps as the peninsula of Yucatan. It 
reads, Mayacli, the "land just sprung," the "primitive 
land," the "hard land." The symbol itself is an ideographic 
representation of the peninsula and its surroundings, as will 
be shown. 

The reason that caused it to be adopted by the learned men 
of Mayacli as symbol for the name of their country is indeed 
most interesting. It clearly explains its etymology, and also 
gives us a knowledge of the scope of their scientific attain- 
ments — among these their perfect understanding of the forces 
that produced the submersion of many lands, and the upheaval 
of the peninsula and other places; a thorough acquaintance 
with the geography of the continent wherein they dwelt, and 
of the lands adjacent in the ocean ; that even of the ill-fated 
island mentioned by Plato,' its destruction by earthquakes, 
and the sad doom of its inhabitants that remained, an histor- 
ical fact, preserved in the annals treasured in the Egj^ptian 
temples as well as in those of the Mayas. May we not assume 
that the identity of traditions indicates that at some epoch, 
' Plato, Diahgiies, "Tima?us,'' ii., 517. 


more or less remote, intimate relations and communications 
must have existed between the inhabitants of the valley of 
the Nile and the peoples dwelling in the " Lands of the West " ? 

We shaU. begin the interpretation j-l , of the symbol 
with the analysis of the character ^r^ Sf^ that Landa tells 
us ^ stood, among the Maya writers, either for ma, me, or mo. 
Some would-be critics among the Americanists, our contempo- 
raries,^ have accused the bishop of ignorance regarding the 
writing system of the Mayas, or of incompetency in transmit- 
ting to us the true value of this character, simply because he 
gave it a plurality, or what seems to be a plurality, of meanings. 

What right, it may be asked, have we to dispute the fact 
asserted by Bishop Landa, j-^ that in his time, among 
the Mayas, the character g«^ S?^ was equivalent to ma 
and perhaps to me and mo ? Had he not better opportunity 
than any of us for knowing it? Did not the chiefs of the 
Franciscan Order in Yucatan consider it a prime duty to 
become thoroughly versed, and have all their missionaries 
insti'ucted, in the language of the natives to whom they had 
to preach the gospel, and, after converting them to Chris- 
tianity, to administer the sacraments of their Church ? Were 
they not scholars, men conversant with grammatical studies ? 
Who but they have reduced to grammatical rules the Maya 

' Landa, Eelacion de las Cosas de Yucatan, ch. xli., p. 323. 

" Heinrich Wvlttke, Bei enstehimg der Schrift, S. 205, quoted and whose 
opinions are indorsed by Professor Cliarles Ran, cliief of tlie archfeological 
division of the National Museum (Smithsonian Institution) at Washington. 
Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, chap, v., No. 331. "The Paleuque 
Tablet in the United States National Museum." Dr. Ed. Seler, Tiber die 
Bedeutung des ZahlzeicJmns 20 in der Mayaschrift, in Verhandlungen der Ber- 
liner Oesellachaft fiXr Anthropohgie, etc., 1887, S. 237-241. J. J. Vallentini, 
" The Landa Alphabet a Spanish Fabrication," in Proceedings of the 
American Antiquarian Society, April, 1880. 


language for the benefit of students? Are we not told that 
Bishop Landa acquired a great proficiency in it? Was he 
not for many years a teacher of it ? Has he not composed a 
grammar of that tongue for the use of his pupils? What 
right, then, have men in our age, innocent of all knowledge of 
Maya language, even as spoken to-day, however great may 
be their attainments in any other branch of learning, to pass 
judgment on, worse still, to condemn, a learned teacher of 
that language, charging him with ignorance and incompetency, 
simply because he assigns various meanings to a character ? 

Perhaps Mr. Champollion le jewne will be branded in like 
manner, because he tells us that the Egyptians represented 
indifferently the vowels A, I, 0, E by the character 1 1 ? ' 
""We see effectively," says the learned discoverer of ^ the 
Egyptian alphabet, " the leaf or feather as their homo- 
phones, to mean, according to the occasion, an A, an 7", an E, 
and even an 6>, as the ^ (aleph) of the Hebrews. So do we 
find in the Egyptian tongue, written with Coptic letters, a 
dialect that uses indifferently a for o, where the other two 
write o only, and e where the other two write a. We have 
in the same dialect a/3e and o/Je- — Sitire ; axe — "reed," 
' ' rush, ' ' Jwieus. ^ 

' Champollion le jeune, Precis du Systime hieroglyphiqite des Anciens Egyp- 
tiena, p. Ill, Paris, 1838. 

' Ak6 is likewise a word belonging to the Maya language. As in 
Egyptian, it means a "reed," a "rush," a "-withe." It was the name of 
an ancient city the ruins of which still exist near Tixkokob, in Yucatan, 
on the property of Dn. Alvaro Peon. It was also a family name, as can 
be seen (in Appendix, note ii.) from a baptismal certificate signed by 
Father CogoUudo, taken from an old baptismal register found in the 
convent of Cacalchen. The original is now in possession of the Right Rev. 
Dn. Crecencio Carillo y Ancona, present bishop of Yucatan, who has kindly 
allowed me to make a photographic copy of Father Diego de CogoUudo's 


Let US resume our explanation. We have found that 
in re- j--1 mote times ma was the meaning of the char- 
acter g!*-* Ss^. Let us try to analyze its component parts in 
its relation to the name Mayach, and its origin as an alphabetic 
character. It is easy to see that it is composed of the /"^s 
geometrical figure | I flanked on each side by the symbol VjllV/ 
imix. "Who can fail to see that this figure bears a strik- 
ing resemblance to the Egyptian sign V that Dr. Young 
translates m»,' and Mr. ChampoUion asserts to be simply the 
letter M? ' By a strange coincidence, if coincidence there be, 
the meaning of the syllable ma is the same in Maya and Egyp- 
tian; that is, in both languages it signifies "earth," "place." 
"The word ronoi — 'place,' 'site,'" says Mr. ChampoUion, 
"of the Greek text of the Rosetta inscription is expressed in 
the hieroglyphic part of the tablet by an owl for M, and the 
extended arm for A, which gives the Coptic word /<« {ma), 
'site,' 'place.' "^ 

"We see that in the Troano MS. the author represented the 
earth by the figure of an old man,* " the grandfather," mam ; 
hence, by apocope, ma, "earth," "site," "country," "place." 

Ma, in the Maya, is also a particle used, as in the Greek 
language, in affirmation or negation according to its position 
before or after the verb. Another curious coincidence worthy 
of notice is that the sign of negation is abso- j-i lutely 
the same for the Mayas as for the Egyptians, ^ L,. Bun- 
sen = says that the latter called it n^n. That word in 'Maya 

'Dr. Young, "Egypt," Encyclopedia Britanniea, Edinburgh edition, 
vol. iv. 

' ChampoUion lejeune, Precis du Systeme hieroglyphique. etc., p. 34. 
» lUd., p. 125. 

' Troano MS., vol. i., Maya text, part ii., plates xxv.-xxvii., etpaasim. 
' Bunsen, Egypt's Place in Universal History, Vocabulary word Nen. 


means " mirror; " and Nen-ha, " the mirror of water," was 
anciently one of the names of the Mexican Gulf. This also 
may be a coincidence. 

No one has ever told us why the learned hierogramanatists 
of Egypt gave to the sign \ the value of ma. No one can ; 

because nobody knows the origin of the Egyptians, of their 
civilization, nor the country where it grew from infancj'^ to 
maturity. They themselves, although they invariably pointed 
toward the setting sun when questioned concerning the father- 
land of their ancestors, were ignorant of Avho they were and 
whence they came. Nor did they know who was the inventor 
of their alphabet. "The Egyptians, who, no doubt, had for- 
gotten, or had never known the name of the inventor of their 
phonetic signs, at the time of Plato honored with it one of 
tlieir gods of the second order, TJioth, who likewise was held 
as the father of all sciences and arts." ^ 

It is evident that we can learn nothing from the Eg}"])tians 
of the motives that prompted the inventor of their alphabetical 
characters to select that peculiar figure / to represent the 
letter M, initial of their word Ma. The Mayas, we are in- 
formed,^ made use of the identical sign, and ascribed to it the 
same signification. "We may perhaps find out from them the 
reasons that induced their learned men to choose this strange 
geometrical figure as part of their symbol for Ma, radical of 
Mayacli, name of the peninsula of Yucatan. "Who knows 
but that the same cause Avhich prompted them to adopt it sug- 
gested it also to the mind of the Egyptian hierogrammatist ? 
Many will, no doubt, object that this may all be pure coinci- 
dence — the t\vo peoples lived so far apart. Very true. I do 

' ChampoUion, Precis du Systeme Ilieroglypluque, p. 355. 

" Lauda, lielaciondc las Oosas de Yucatan, chap, xli., p. 322. 


not pretend it is not accidental. I merely suggest a possi- 
bility, that, added to other facts, may later become a probabil- 
ity, if not a certainty. In the course of these pages we shall 
meet with so many concurrent facts, as having existed both in 
3Iayacli and Egypt, that it will become difficult to reconcile 
the mind to the belief that they are, altogether, the identical 
working of the hmnan intelligence groping its way out of bar- 
barism to civilization, as some have more than once hinted, 
as a last resort, in their inability to deny the striking concord- 
ance of these facts. 

"We are told that in the origin of language names were 
given to places, objects, tribes, individuals, or animals, in ac- 
cordance with some peculiar inherent properties possessed by 
them, such as shape, voice, customs, etc. , and to countries on 
account of their climate, geological formation, geographical 
configuration, or any other characteristic; that is, by onomato- 
poeia. This assertion seems to find confirmation in the sym- 
bol rj of the Mayas ; and the name Mayach forms no 
exception to the rule. 

In fact, if we draw round the Yucatan peninsula a geometri- 
cal figure enclosing it, and composed of straight lines, by follow- 
ing the direction of its eastern, northern, and western 
coasts, it is easy to see that the drawing so made 
will unavoidably be the s3nnbol [1. 

That fact alone might not be deemed proof sufficient to 
affirm that the Mayas, in reality, did derive their sign for Ma 
from this cause, since /-^^ to complete it, as transmitted by 
Landa, the character \jll\/ imix ' is wanting on each side. 

It does not require a very great effort of the imagina- 
tion to understand what this sign is meant for. A single 
' Landa, Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan, p. 304. 


glance will suffice to satisfy us that the drawing is intended to 
represent a woman's breast, with its nipple and areola. Any 
one inclined to doubt that such is the case wiU. soon be con- 
vinced by examining the female figures portrayed in the Tro- 
ano MS.i 

Yes, imix is the breast, the bosom, called to-day simply im, 
the word having suffered the apocope of its desinence ix, which 
is a copulative conjunction and the sign of the feminine 

But iosoTn is also an enclosed place. ^ We say " the bosom of 
the deep," le sein de la terre, el seno de los ma/res.^ It was 
in that sense, indeed, that the Maya sages, who invented the 
characters and symbols with which to give their thoughts a 
material form, made use of it. This fact becomes apparent if 

' Troano MS., part 1, plate xxii. See Appendix, note iii. 

The reader may perhaps desire to know the mean- 
ing of this picture. Alas! it teaches us that the 
powers that govern nature were as indifferent to the 
lot of man in remote ages as they are to-day ; that 
no creatures, whatever they be, have for them any 
importance beyond their acting of the role which 
they are called upon to play momentarily in the 

/'vVvVVW ^ ^ S" S''^** ^^^^^ °^ creation. 

The figures are anthropomorphous representations 
— the kneeling, supplicating female, of the " Land of Mu ; " the male, of the 
"Lord of the Seven Fires " (volcanoes), Men kak uuc. Mil, in an im- 
ploring posture, comes to inform him that one of his volcanoes lias caused 
the basin at the edge of her domains to rise, and has converted the coun- 
try into marshy ground. She speaks thus ; " Alt lia pe be be imik 
Kaan" (that is, "The basin has risen rapidly, and the land has become 
marshy ") Men Kak uuc, for all consolation, replies : " Imix be Ak 
Mu ? " (" So the basin in rising has caused the laud to become marshy, 
Mu ? ") This is evidently the record of a geological event — the rising of 
the part of the bottom of the ocean near Mu. 
' Webster, English Dictionary. 
' Diccionario Es2MUoI por una socU'dad litcraria. 


we examine the drawing still more closely, and notice the four 
lines drawn in the lower part, as if to shade it. If we con- 
sider each line as equivalent to one unit, their sum represents 
the numerical /owr — can — in the Maya language. We have 
already seen that can also means "serpent," /*''»v one of 
the symbols for the sea, canah. Then the two \^|y imix 
are placed, one on each side of the geometrical figure j I 
image of the peninsula, to typify the two gulfs whose waters 
bathe its shores — on the left that of Mexico, on the right 
the Caribbean Sea. That this was the idea of the invent- 
ors of the symbol is evident; for as the Gulf of Mexico is 
smaller than the Caribbean Sea, and the Avestern coast line 
of Yucatan shorter than the eastern, so in the drawiiig the 
imix on the left of the figure | j is smaller than the Iniix 
on the right, and the line on the left shorter than that on the 

This explanation being correct, it clearly proves, as much as 
a proposition of r^ that nature can be demonstrated, 
that the character q-^ ' — q owes its origin, among the Mayas, 
to the configuration of the Yucatan peninsula, and its posi- 
tion between two gulfs, and that the inventors were acquainted 
Avith their extent and contour. 

Not a fe^v, even among well-read people, often express a 
doubt as to the ancient Mayas having possessed accurate in- 
formation respecting the existence of the various continents and 
islands that form the habitable portions of the earth ; question- 
ing likewise if they were acquainted even with the geography 
and configuration of the lands in which they lived ; seeming to 
entertain the idea that the science of general geography 
belongs exclusively to modern times. 

The name Maya, found among all civilized nations of 


antiquity, in Asia, Africa, Europe, as well as in America, 
always with the same meaning, should be sufficient to prove 
that in very remote ages the Mayas had intimate relations 
with the inhabitants of the lands situated on those continents, 
were therefore great travellers, and must, perforce, have been 
acquainted with the general geography of the planet. 

We must not lose sight of the fact that we know but very 
little indeed of the ancient American civilizations. The annals 
of the learned men of Mayach. having been either hidden 
or destroyed, it is impossible for us to judge of the scope of 
their scientific attainments. That they were expert architects, 
the monuments built by them, that have resisted for ages the 
disintegrating action of the elements and that of vegetation, 
bear ample testimony. The analysis of the gnomon discovered 
by the writer in the ruins of the ancient city of Mayapan, 
in 1880, proves conclusively that they had made advance in the 
science of astronomy. They knew, as well as we do, how to 
calculate the latitudes and longitudes; the epochs of the sol- 
stices and of the equinoxes; the division of time into solar 
years of three hundred and sixtj^-five days and six hours : that 
of the year into twelve months of thirty days, to which thej'^ 
added five supplementary days that were left without name 
and regarded as inauspicious. During these, as on the third 
day of the Epact among the Egyptians, all business was sus- 
pended; they did not even go out of their houses, lest some 
misfortune should befall them. All those calculations required, 
of course, a thorough knowledge of algebra, geometry, trigo- 
nometry, and the other branches of mathematics. That they 
were no mean di-aughtsmen and sculptors, the fi'esco paintings, 
the inscriptions and bas-reliefs carved on marble, that are stiU 
extant, bear unimpeachable testimony. 


The study of the Troano MS. will convince any one that the 
learned author of that book, and no doubt many of his asso- 
ciates, had not only a thorough knowledge of the geographical 
configuration of the Western Continent and the adjacent islands, 
but also of their geological formation. The "Lands of the 
West " are represented by these symbols, r sfyj^^/ p^ ^^f^^JfSk 
which some have translated Atlan. ' They JV^^T ^tjSgSumr 
leave no room for doubting that the ^^1^^ 

Mayas were acquainted with the eastern coasts of said con- 
tinent, from the bay of Saint Lawrence in latitude north 48° to 
Cape St. Koque, in Brazil, in latitude south 5° 28'. The two signs 
^^^\\ ^^ O *^^ ^^® locality 'placed under the symbols repre- 
sent the two large regions of the Western Conti- y''~\ 
nent, North and South America ; whilst the signs \^y 
and h>Q^ seen Avithin the curve figuring the northern basin 
of the Atlantic, stand for the Land of Mu, that extensive 
island now submerged under the waves of the ocean. 

The sign l>Q/\ , as well as this h'^'^ that forms the upper 
part of the symbol, is familiar to all students of Egyptology. 
These will tell you that the first meant, in the EgyiJtian 
hieroglyphs, " the sun setting on the horizon," and the second, 
' ' the mountainous countries in the west. ' ' 

As to the conventional posture given to all the statues of 
the rulers and other illustrious personages in Mayach it con- 
firms the fact of their geographical attainments. If Ave com- 
pare, for instance, the outlines of the efiigy of Prince Coh 
discovered by the author at Cliichen-Itza in 1875, Avith 

' Kingsborough, Mexican Antiquities, vol. i., and Comment, vol. v. Atlan 
is not a Maya but a Nahuatl word. It is composed of tlie two primitives 
Atl, "water," and Tlan, "near," "between." The Maya name for the 
symbol is Alau. 


the contour of the eastern coasts of the American continent, 

placing the head at New- 
foundland, the knees at 
Cape St. Eoque, and the 
feet at Cape Horn, it is 
^<& easy to perceive that they 
are identical. The shal- 
low basin held on the 
belly of the statue, between the hands, would then be symbol- 
ical of the Gulf of Mexico and of the Caribbean Sea.^ 

Again, the outlines of the profile of the statue may also 
represent Avith great accuracy the eastern shores of the Maya 
Empire — the head being the peninsula of Yucatan, anciently 
the seat of the government ; the knees would then correspond 
to Cape Gracias a Dios, in Nicaragua; the feet to the Isthmus 
of Darien, the southern boundary of the empire ; and the shal- 
low basin on the belly would in that case stand for the Bay of 
Honduras, part of the Caribbean Sea. The Antilles were 
known to the Mayas as the " Land of the Scorpion," Ziiiaan, 
and were represented by the Maya hierogrammatist by the 
figure of that arachnid, or in his cursive writing by this 

other /■ >^ ^ proof evident that he was as well acquainted 

as we are with the general outlines of the archipelago. 

' Various other statues discovered by the writer at Chicheii-Itza liave 
the same position, and hold a basin on the belly, between their hands. 
Others, again, are to be seen in the " National JIaseum " of Mexico, all 
having the same conventional attitude, with the head turned to the right 

" Troano MS., part 11, plates vi., vii. 

In the tableau, plate v., which forms the middle section of plate xiii. 
in the second i)art of the Troano MS., the author describes the occurrence 
of a certain phenomenon of volcanic origin, whose focus of action was lo- 
cated in the volcanoes of the island of Trinidad, figured by the image of a 

Page Ix. 

Plate V. 


The ancient Maya sages sometimes likened the earth to a 
caldron, cum, because as nutriment is cooked in such utensil, 
so also all that exists on the surface of the earth is first elab- 
orated in its bosom. Sometimes, likewise, on account of its 
rotundity, and because it contains the germs of all things, they 
compared the earth to a calabash, kum, full of seeds. These 
similes seem to have been favorite ones, since they made fre- 
quent use of them in illustrating their explanations of the 
geological phenomena which have convulsed our planet. Per- 
haps also the second reason was what caused them to generally 
adopt a circular shape for the characters they invented to give 
material expression to the multitudinous conceptions of their 
mind (unless it be that they gave that form to these charac- 
ters from that of their skull, containing the brain, organ of 
thought). The fact is that their symbol for the name May- 
acli, of the peninsula of Yucatan, affects the shape of a cala- 
bash, Avith its tendril just sprouted — a yacli or acli, as the 
natives call a young sprout. 

What can have induced the hierogrammatists to select a 

hand at the end of the scorpion's tail. The rope that connects said hand 
with the raised right forefoot of the deer indicates that not only the seis- 
mic action was felt throughout the length of the Caribbean Sea, from south 
to north, but that it produced the upheaval of some locality in the northern 
parts of said sea. Beginning, naturally, the reading of the legend by the 
column on the right, we find that he describes the phenomenon in the fol- 
lowing words: "Oc ik ix canab ezali uab " (that is, "A handful 
(small quantity) of gases, escaped from the crater, caused canab to show 
the palm of liis hand "). According to its location this raised forefoot may 
be the uplieaval of the large volcano that looms high in the air in the middle 
of the island of Roatan, the largest of the group called Guanacas in the Bay 
of Honduras, where the Mayas met the Spaniards for the first time in 1503. 
The second column reads : " Cib caualcimte lam a ti ahau O-" 
("The lava having filled (raised) the submerged places, the master of the 
basin,'' etc.) (The last sign being completely obliterated, we cannot know 
what the author had said.) 



germinating calabash as part of the name of their country, 
remains to be explained. 

If we examine the map of the lands back of the peninsula, 
it will not be difficult to discover the idea uppermost in the 
mind of the draughtsman at the time of composing the sj^m- 
bol; and to see that he was as thoroughly acquainted with the 
geography of the interior and the western shores of those 
parts of the continent, as with the configuration of its eastern 
coasts; also that their geological formation was no mystery 
to him. cTL 

By comparing this symbol ^^jO* with the shape of the 
countries immediately south of vg^ the peninsula, notwith- 
standing the changes that are continually taking place in the 
contour of the coast lines, particularly at the mouth of rivers,^ 
by the action of currents, etc. , we cannot fail to recognize that 

the hierogrammatist 
assumed it to be the 
sprout of a calabash, 
the body of which was 
represented \>\ the 
lands comprised with- 
in the segment of 
a circle having for 
radius the half of a line, parallel to the eastern and western 
shores of the peninsula, starting from Point Lagartos, on the 
northern coast of Yucatan, drawn across the countrj"^ to the shore 
of the Pacific Ocean on the south. For if, from the middle of 
said line as centre, we describe a circumference, part of it will 
follow exactly the bent of the coast line of said ocean, opposite 
the northern shore of the peninsula; another part will cross the 
' Charles Lycll, Principles of Ocology, vol. i., chap, iii., p. 252. 


Isthmus of Tehuantepeo, the northern frontier of the Maya 
Empu-e, and, if carried overland on the south until it intersect 
the seaboard of the Bay of Honduras, the segment of the circle 
thus formed resembles the bottom of a calabash, and the 
peninsula the sprout. 

Analyzing the character yet more closely, "we see a line of 
dots on each side of the base of the sprout, the ^^ root of 
which is made to repose on the curled figure ^^ intended 
to represent the curling of the smoke as it ascends into 
the air from the crater of the volcanoes among the mountains, 
indicated, as on our maps, by the etchings on both sides of the 
body of the s3Tnbol. These tokens prove that the designer 
knew the geological formation of the country in which he 
lived ; and that the peninsula had been upheaved from the bot- 
tom of the sea by the action of volcanic forces, whose centre 
of activity was in his time, as it still is, in the mountains of 
Guatemala, far away in the interior of the continent. By 
placing the small end of the sprout deep into the figure on 
the focus of the volcanic action, on the curling line of the 
smoke, and by the dots, on both sides of the root of the sprout, 
he shows that he knew that the upheaval of the peninsula was 
effected by the expansive force of the gases, which produce 
earthquakes by their pressure on the uneven under surface 
of the superficial strata, too homogeneous to permit their 
escape. 1 

Thus it is that we come to learn from the pen of an ancient 
Maya philosopher that the name of his people, once upon a 
time so broadly scattered over the face of the earth, had its 

' Sir Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology, chap, xxxii., xxxiii. Augustus 
Le Plongeon, "The Causes of Earthquakes," Van Nostrand''s Engineenng 
Magazine, vol. 6, Nos. 41, 43. 


origin in that of the country they inhabited, a place situated 
in the northern tropical ^^ parts of the "Western Continent, 
in that " Land of Kui," ^ ' that mysterious home of their 
ancestors, where the Egyptians thought the souls of their 
departed friends went to dwell, which was known to its inhab- 
itants as Mayacli, a word that in their language meant 
the "first land," the "land just sprouted," also the "hard 
land," the "terra firma," as we learn from the sign \\ 'of 
aspiration, hardness, coagulation, placed each side of the 
body of the calabash, to indicate, perhaps, the rocky forma- 
tion of its soil, and that it had Avithstood the awful cata- 
clysms which <ff^-ri_r> swept from the face of the earth the 
Land of Mu ^^^^ and many other places with their popu- 
lations. The priests of Egypt, Chaldea, and India preserved 
the remembrance of their destruction in the archives of their 
temples, as did those of Mayacli on the other side of the 

The latter did not content themselves with recording the 
relation in their treatises on geology and history, but in order 
to preserve its memory for future generations they caused it to 
be carved on a stone tablet which they fastened to the wall in 
one of the apartments of their college at Cliicllen, where 
it is yet seen. The natives have perpetuated, from genera- 
tion to generation, for centuries, the name of that inscrip- 
tion. They still call it Akab-aib, the awful, the tenebrous 

' Sir Gardner WilUiuson, Manners and Customs of Ancient Egyptians, vol. 
iii., p. 70. "Kui Land," according to tlie Maya language the "land of 
the gods," the birthplace of the Goddess Maya, "the uiotlier of the gods " 
and of men, the feminine energy of Brahma by 'whose union with Brahma 
all things were produced. 

^ Landa, Mchicion de las Cosas do Yucatan, chap, xli., p. 323. 


The history of that terrible catastrophe, recounted in vari- 
ous ways in the sacred books of the different nations among 
which vestiges of the presence of the Mayas are to be found, 
continues to be the appalling tradition of a great portion of 


We infer the spirit of the nation in great 
measure from the language, which is a sort of 
monument to which each forcible indimd/ual in 
a course of many hundred, years has contrib- 
uted a stone. 

(Bal^jh Waldo Emerson, 
Essays, XX., "■ Nominalist and Realist.") 

In ages long lost in the abyss of time, when Aryan colonists 
had not yet established their first settlements on the banks 
of the river Saraswati in the Punjab, and the primitive Egyp- 
tian settlers in the valley of the Nile did not fancy, even in 
their most hopeful day-dreams, that their descendants would 
become the great people whose civilization was to be the 
cradle of that of Europe, there existed on the Western Conti- 
nent a nation — the Maya — that had attained to a high degree 
of culture in arts and sciences. 

Valmiki, in his beautiful epic the "Ramayana," which is 
said to have served as model to Homer's " Iliad," teUs us that 
the Mayas were mighty navigators, whose ships travelled 
from the western to the eastern ocean, from the southern to 
the northern seas, in ages so remote that "the sun had not 
yet risen above the horizon; " ' that, being lUiewise great war- 
rioi's, they conquered the southern parts of the Hindostanee 
' Valmiki, Ramayana, Hippolyte Fauclig's trauslatiou, vol. i., p. 353. 


peninsula, and established themselves there; that, being also 
learned architects, they built great cities and palaces.' These 
Mayas became known in after times under the names of Da- 
navas,^ and are regarded by modern historians as aborigines 
of the country, or Nagds as we shall see later on. Of these 
J. Talboys Wheeler in his "History of India" says:^ "The 
traditions of the Nagds are obscure in the extreme ; they point, 
however, to the existence of an ancient Naga empire in the 
Dekkan, having its capital in the modern town of Nagpore, 
and it may be conjectured that, prior to the Aryan invasion, the 
Nagd rajas exercised an imperial power over the greatest part 
of the Punjab and Hindostan. . . . The Nagds, or serpent 
worshippers, who lived in crowded cities and were famous for 
their beautiful women and exhaustless treasures, were doubt- 

' Valmiki, Bamayana, vol. ii., p. 26. " In olden times there was a prince 
of the Danavas, a, learned magician endowed with great power ; his name 
was Maya. It was he who, by magic art, constructed this golden grotto. 
He was the viivakarma (" architect of the gods ") of the principal Danavas, 
and this superb palace of solid gold is the work of his hands." 

Maya is mentioned in the Mahahharata as one of the si.x individuals 
who were allowed to escape with their life at the burning of the forest of 
Khandava, whose inhabitants were all destroyed. 

We read in John Campbell Oman's work, Tlte Great Indian Epics (p. 
118) : " Now, Maya was the chief arcliitect of the Danavas, and iu grati- 
tude for his preservation built a wonderful saWia, or hall, for the Pandavas, 
the most beautiful structure of its kind in the whole world." 

'' Danava = Tan-ha-ba : Tan, " midst; " lia, "water; " ba, a com- 
positive particle used to form reflexive desinences; "tliey who live in the 
midst of the water " — navigators. 

This Maya etymon accords perfectly with what Professor John Camp- 
bell Oman in his work The Great Indian Epics, " Mahabharata " (p. 133), 
says with regard to the dwelling-place of the Danavas : 

" Arjuna carried war against a tribe of the Danavas, the Nivata-Kava- 
chas, who were very powerful, numbering thirty millions, whose principal 
city was Hiranyapura. They dwelt in the womb of the ocean." (The name 
Hiranyapura means iu Maya "dragged in the middle of the water jar.'") 

' J. Talboys Wlieeler, Iliatonj of India, vol. iii., pp. 5G-57. 

Page 3. 

Plate VI. 


less a civilized people living under an organized government. 
Indeed, if any inference can be drawn from the epic legends 
it would be that, prior to the Aryan conquest, the Naga rajas 
were ruling powers, who had cultivated the arts of luxury to 
an extraordinary degree, and yet succeeded in maintaining a 
protracted struggle against the Aryan invaders." 

Like the Enghsh of to-day, the Mayas sent colonists all 
over the earth. These carried with them the language, the 
traditions, the architecture, astronomy,^ cosmogony, and other 
sciences — in a word, the civilization of their mother country. 
It is this civilization that furnishes us with the means of ascer- 
taining the role played by them in the universal history of the 
world. We find vestiges of it, and of their language, in all 
historical nations of antiquity in Asia, Africa, and Europe. 
They are still frequent in the countries where they flourished. 

It is easy to follow their tracks across the Pacific to India, 
by the imprints of their hands dipped in a red liquid and 
pressed against the walls of temples, caves, and other places 
looked upon as sacred, to implore the benison of the gods — also 
by their name, Maya, given to the banana tree, symbol of 
their country,^ whose broad leaf is yet a token of hospitality 

' H. T. Colebrooke, "Memoirs on the Sacred Books of India," Asiatic 
PesearcJies, vol. ii., pp. 369-476, says: "Maya is considered as the author 
of the SmryorSiddhanta, the most ancient treatise on astronomy in India. 
He is represented as receiving his science from a partial incarnation of 
the Sun." This work, on which all the Indian astronomy is founded, was 
discovered at Benares by Sir Robert Chambers. Mr. Samuel Davis partly 
translated it, particularly those sections which relate to the calculation 
of eclipses. It is a work of very great antiquity, since it is attributed to a 
Maya author whose astronomical rules show that he was well acquainted 
with trigonometry {Asiatic Researches, vol. ii., pp. 345-249), proving that 
abstruse sciences were cultivated in those remote ages, before the invasion 
of India by the Aryans. (See Appendix, note vi.) 

' Codex Cortesianiis, plates 7 and 8. 


among the natives of the islands ; ' then along the shores of 
the Indian Ocean and those of the Persian Gulf to the mouth 
of the Euphrates; up that river to Babylon, the renowned 
City of the Sun; thence across the Syrian desert to the valley 
of the Nile, where they finally settled, and gave the name of 
their mother country to a district of Nubia, calling it Maiu 
or Maioo.^ After becoming firmly established in Egypt they 
sent colonists to Syria. These reached as far north as Mount 
Taurus, founding on their way settlements along the coast of 
the Mediterranean, in Sidon, Tyre, the valley of the Orontes, 
and again on the banks of the Euphrates, to the north of 
Babylon, in Mesopotamia. 

Mayacli (that is, " the land that first arose from the 
bottom of the deep ") was the name of the empire whose sov- 
ereigns bore the title of Can (serpent), spelt to-day Jchan in 
Asiatic countries.^ This title, given by the Mayas to their 
rulers, was derived from the contour of the empire, that of 
a serpent with inflated breast, which in their books and their 
sculptures they represented sometimes with, sometimes without 
wings, as the Egyptians did the urceus, symbol of their coun- 
try, ^lian says: "It was the custom of the Egyptian kings 
to wear asps of different colors in their crowns, this reptile 

' Captain J. Cook, Voyage among tlie Islands of the Pacific. 

^ Henry Brugsch-Bey, History of Egypt tinder the Pharaohs, vol. i., p. 363; 
vol. ii., p. 78 (note) and p. 174. The name is comprised in the list of the 
lauds conquered by Thotmes III., and in the list found in a sepulchral 
chamber in Nubia. 

" Klian is the title of the kings of Tartary, Burmah, Afghanistan, and 
other Asiatic countries. The flag of China is yellow, with a green dragon 
in the centre. That of the Angles also bore as symbol a dragon or serpent; 
that of the Saxons, according to Urtti-scind, a lion, a dragon, and over 
them a flying eagle ; that of the Manchous, a golden dragon on a crimson 
field; that of the Huns, a dragon. Their chief was called Kakhan— short 
for Khan-Khan. 

Page Jf. 

Plafe VII. 

Page 5. 

Plate VIII. 


being emblematic of the invincible power of royalty ;'" but 
he does not inform us why it was selected as such an emblem, 
nor does Plutarch, although he also teUs us that it was the 
symbol of royalty. ^ Pausanias^ affirms that the asp was 
held sacred throughout Egypt, and at Omphis particularly 
enjoyed the greatest honor. Phylarchus states the same 

StiU. the Egyptian sages must have had very strong motives 
for thus honoring this serpent and causing it to play so con- 
spicuous a part in the mysteries of their religion. Was it per- 
chance in commemoration of the mother country of their 
ancestors, beyond the sea, toward the setting sun ? There the 
ancient rulers, after receiving the honors of apotheosis, were 
always represented in the monuments as serpents covered with 
feathers, the heads adorned with horns, and a flame instead 
of a crown; often, also, with simply a crown. 

It is well to remember that in Egypt the cerastes, or horned 
snakes, were the only serpents, with the asp, that were held as 
sacred. Herodotus^ tells us that "when they die they are 
buried in the temple of Jupiter, to whom they are reputed 

The Maya Empire comprised aU the lands between the 
Isthmus of Tehuantepec and that of Darien, known to-day 
as Central America. The history of the sovereigns that had 
governed it, and of the principal events that had taken place 
in the nation, was written in well-bound books of papy- 
rus or parchment, covered with highly ornamented wooden 

' jElian, Nat. An., lib. vi., 33. 

" Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, S. 74. 

' Pausanias, BcBot., c. 21. 

' jElian, Nat. An., lib. xvii. 5. 

' Herodotus, lib. ii., Ixxiv. 


boards,' while the most important occurrences were Likewise 
carved in stone on the walls of their public edifices, to preserve 
their record in a lasting and indeUble manner for the knowledge 
of future generations. It is from these sculptured and written 
memoirs graven on their palaces at Uxmal and Cliichen in 
the peninsula of Yucatan, the head of the imperial serpent 
and the seat of the government of the Maya Empire, that the 
author has learned the history of Queen Mdo and her family. 

At its southern extremity and on the top of the east Avail 
of the tennis court at Chicllen, there is a building that is of 
the greatest interest to the archfeologist, the historian, and the 
ethnologist ; while the architect may learn from it many useful 
lessons. John L. Stephens, who visited it in 1842, speaks of 
it as a casket containing the most precious jewels of ancient 
American art.^ 

It was a memorial hall erected by order of Queen Mdo, 
and dedicated to the memory of her brother-husband. Prince 
Coh, an eminent warrior. Those paintings so much admired 
by Stephens, rivalling the frescos in the tombs of Egypt and 
Etruria, or the imagery on the walls of the palaces of Babylon 
mentioned hy Ezekiel, were a pictorial record of the life of 
Prince Coli from the time of his youth to that of his death, 
and of the events that followed it. They thus form a few 

' Landa, Las Corns de Yucatan, pp. 44, 316. CogoUudo, Historia de Yu- 
cathan, etc., lib. iv., cap. v. 

These books were exactly like the holy books now in use in Thibet. 
These also are written on parchment strips about eighteen inches loug and 
four broad, bound with wooden boards, and wrapped up in cvuiously em- 
broidered silk. 

C. F. Gordon Gumming, In the Himalayas and on the Indian Plains, 
p. 438. 

^ John L. Stephens, Incidents of Travels in Yucatan, vol. ii., p. 310, et 

Page 7. 

Plate IX. 


pages of the ancient history of the Maya nation, and of the 
last days of the Can dynasty. 

This interesting edifice is now in ruins. Enough, however, 
remains to have enabled the writer to make not only an accu- 
rate plan of it, but a restoration perfect in all its details. 

After climbing to the top of the wall, that formed a ter- 
race six metres wide, levelled and paved with square marble 
slabs carefully adjusted, we find a broad stairway composed of 
five steps. Ascending these, we stand on a platform, and be- 
tween two marble columns each one metre in diameter. The 
base of these columns is formed of a single monolith one 
metre twenty centimetres high and two metres long, carved in 


the shape of serpent heads with mouth open and tongue pro- 
truding. The shaft represents the body of the serpent, emblem 
of royalty in Mayach, as it was in Egypt and as it is yet 
in many countries of Asia. It is covered with sculptured 
feathers, image of the mantle of feathers worn in court cere- 
monials by the kings and the highpriests as insignia of their 

Between these columns there was a grand altar supported 
by fifteen atlantes, three abreast and five deep, whose faces 


were portraits of friends and relatives of the dead warrior. 
On this altar, placed at the door of the inner chamber, they 
were wont to make offerings to his manes, just as the Egyp- 
tians made oblations of fruits and flowers to the dead on altars 
erected at the entrance of the tombs. ^ From Papyrus IV., at 


the Bulaq Museum, we learn that the making of offerings to 
the dead was taught as a moral precept. " Bring offerings to 
thy father and thy mother who rest in the valley of the tombs; 
for he who gives these offerings is as acceptable to the gods 
as if they were brought to themselves. Often visit the dead, 
so that what thou dost for them, thy son may do for thee."^ 

" Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs of Ancient Egyptians, 
vol. iii., cliap. xvi. 

° Papyrus IV., Bulaq Museum. Translation by Messrs. Brugsch and E. 
de Rougfi. Published by Mariette. 

Page 8. 

Plate X. 


If we compare this with the precepts of the " Manava-Dharma- 
Sastra — " The ceremony in honor of the manes is superior, for 
the Brahmins, to the worship of the gods, and the offerings to 
the gods that take place before the offerings to the manes have 
been declared to increase their merits"* — it will be easy to 
see that these teachings must have emanated from the same 

This most ancient custom is likewise scrupulously followed 
by the Chinese, for whom the worship of the ancestors is as 
binding and sacred as that of God himself, whose representatives 
they have been for their children while on earth. Confucius 
in his book " Khoung-Tseu " dedicates a whole chapter to the 
description of the ceremony in honor of ancestors as practised 
twice a year, in spring and autumn,^ and in his book " Lun-yu " 
he instructs his disciples that "it is necessary to sacrifice to 
the ancestors as if they were present." ^ The worship of the 
ancestors is paramount in the mind of the Japanese. On the 
fifteenth day of the seventh Japanese month a festival is held 
in honor of the ancestors, when a repast of fruit and vegeta- 
bles is placed before the If ays, or wooden tablets of peculiar 
shape, on which are written inscriptions commemorative of the 

Great festivities were held by the Peruvians in honor of the 
dead in the month of Aya-marca, a word which means literally 
" carrying the corpses in arms." These festivities were estab- 
lished to commemorate deceased friends and relations. They 
were celebrated with tears, mournful songs, plaintive music, 
and by visiting the tombs of the dear departed, whose provi- 

' Manava-Dharma-Sastra, lib. iii., Sloka 203, also Slokas 137, 149, 207,, 
etc., et passim. 

'Confucius, Khoung-Tseu, TcJioung-Young, chap. xix. 
^ Ibid., Lun-yu, cliap. iii., Sloka 12. 


sion of corn and ehiclia they renewed through openings arranged 
on purpose from the exterior of the tomb to vessels placed 
near the body.' 

Even to-day the aborigines of Yucatan, Peten, and other 
countries in Central America where the Maya language is 
spoken, as if in obedience to this affirmation of the Hindoo 
legislator — " The manes accept with pleasure that Avhich is 
offered to them in the clearings of the forests, localities natu- 
rally pure; on river banks and in secluded places " ^ — are wont, 
at the beginning of November, to hang from the branches of 
certain trees in the clearings of the forests, at cross-roads, in 
isolated nooks, cakes made of the best corn and meat they 
can procure. These are for the souls of the departed to par- 
take of, as their name hanal pixaii (" the food of the souls ") 
clearly indicates.' 

Does not this custom of honoring the dead exist among us 
to-day? The feast of " All Souls " is celebrated by the Cath- 
olic Church on the second day of November, when, as at the 
feast of the Feralia, observed on the third of the ides (Febru- 
arjr the eleventh) by the Romans, and so beautifuUj' described 
by Ovid,^ people visit the cemeteries, carry presents, adorn 

' Cliristoval de Molina, 7Yt« Fables and Rites of ilie Tncas. Translation 
by Clements R. Markham, pp. 36-50. 

' Manaua-Dharma-Sastra, lib. iii., Sloka 203. 

^ Cakes were likewise offered to the dead in Egypt, India, Peru, etc. 
* Est lionor et tumulis ; animas placare paternas, 
Parvaque in extructas munerafeiTe pyras : 
Pariia petunt manes : pietas pro divite grata est 
Munere ; non amdos Styx liahet ima Deos ; 
Tegula porrectis satis est velata coronis, 
Et sparsw fruges, parvaque mica sails. 

Ovid, Fast 1, V. 533, et passim. 

Tombs also have their lionor; our parents wish for 
Some small present to adorn their grave. 

Page 11. 

Plate XL 


with jlowers, wreaths, and garlands of evergreen the resting- 
place of those who have been dear to them — a very tender 
and impressive usage, speaking eloquently of the most affec- 
tionate human sentiments. 

Mr. ~R. G. Haliburton, of Boston, Mass. , in a very learned 
and most interesting paper ' on the " Festival of Ancestors," 
or the feast of the dead, so prevalent among all nations of the 
earth, speaking of the singularity of its being observed every- 
where at precisely the same epoch of the year, says: "It is 
now, as it was formerly, observed at or near the beginning of 
November by the Peruvians, the Hindoos, the Pacific islanders, 
the people of the Tonga Islands, the Australians, the ancient 
Persians, the ancient Egyptians, and the northern nations of 
Europe, and continued for three days among the Japanese, the 
Hindoos, the Australians, the ancient Eomans, and the ancient 
Egyptians. . . . This startling fact at once drew my atten- 
tion to the question, How was this uniformitj'^ in the time of 
observance preserved, not only in far distant quarters of the 
globe, but also through that vast lapse of time since the Peru- 
vian and the Indo-European first inherited this primeval festi- 
val from a common source? " What was that source? 

"When contemplating the altar at the entrance of Prince 
Coil's funeral chamber, we asked ourselves. Are we still in 

That small present we owe to the ghosts ; 

Those powers do not look at what we give them, but how; 

No greedy desires prompt the Stygian shades. 

Tliey only ask a tile crowned with garlands, 

And fruit and salt to scatter on the ground. 

The Romans believed, as did the Hindoos and the Mayas, that salt 
scattered on the ground was a strong safeguard against evil spirits. 

' R. G. Haliburton, "Festival of Ancestors," Ethnological Researches 
Bearing on the Year of the Pleiades. 


America, or has some ancient wizard, by magic art, suddenly 
transported us to the south of the Asiatic peninsula, in Cam- 
bodia, in the old city of Angor-Thom? There also we 
find similar altars, figures of serpents, and the bird-headed 

This bird, symbol of the principal female divinity, is met 
with in every country where Maya civilization can be traced 
— in Polynesia,' Japan, India, Chaldea, Egypt, Greece, as in 
Mayach and the ancient city of Tiahuanuco on the high 
plateaus of the Peruvian Andes. In Egypt the vulture formed 


the headdress of the Goddess Isis, or Mau, whose vestments 
were dyed with a variety of colors imitating feather work.* 
Everywhere it is a myth. In Mayach only we may perhaps 

' When Banks, who accompanied Captain Cook iu his first voyage, vis- 
ited the great Morai at 0-Taheite, he saw on the summit of the pyramid a 
representation of a bird, carved in wood (tlie Creator). John Watson, The 
Lost Solar System, vol. ii., p. 333. 

'' Sir Gardner WiUviuson, Manners and Customs of Ancient Egyptians, vol. 
iii., p. 375, 

Plate XII. 

Page IS. 

Plate XIII. 



find the origin of this myth, since it was the totem of Queen 
M<So, whose name means macaw ; and she is generally pict- 
ured, in the sculptures and inscriptions, by the figure of 
that beautiful bird, whose plumage is composed of brilliant 
feathers of various colors. 


' Gardner AVilkinsou, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap, xiii., p. 115. 


On examining the adornments of the atlantes that sup- 
ported the altar, we could not help exclaiming, ' ' Why, this is 
Burmah ! ' ' And so it is. But it is also America. Yes, 
ancient America, brought back to light after slumbering many 
ages in the lap of Time, to show the people of the nineteenth 
century that, long, long ago, intimate communications existed 
between the inhabitants of the Western Continent and those of 
Asia, Africa, and Europe, just as they exist to-da}^; and that 
ancient American civilization, if not the mother of that of his- 
torical nations of antiquity, was at least an important factor 
in the framing of their cosmogonic notions and primitive 

Of that fact no better proof can be obtained than by com- 
paring the symbols of the universe found among the Mayas, 
the Hindoos, the Chaldees, and the Egyptians. 

The simplest is that of the Mayas. It seems to have served 
as model for the others, that evidently are amplifications of it. 
We find it many times repeated, adorning the central fillet of 
the upper cornice of the entablatures of the eastern and west- 

Page H. 

Plate XIV. 

Page 14. 

Plate XV. 







ern fa§ades of King Can's palace at Uxmal. This edifice was 
also the residence of the pontiff. 

A knowledge of antique geometric symbology makes it 
easy to understand these cosmic diagrams. In the centre of 
the figure we see a circle inscribed within the hexagon formed 
by the sides of two interlaced equilateral triangles. 

The Egyptians held the equilateral triangle as the symbol 
of nature, beautiful and fruitful. In their hieroglyphs it meant 
"worship." For the Christians the equilateral triangle, con- 
taining the open eye of Siva, is the symbol of Deity. The 
Hindoos and the Chaldees regarded it as emblem of the spirit 
of the universe. Exoterically this central circle represents the 
sun, the light and life-giver of the physical world, evolved 
from fire and water. ^ 

It is well known that among the ancient occultists, of all 
nations, the triangle Avith the apex upward symbolized " fire; " 
that with the apex downward, " water. " The outer circle that 
circumscribes the triangles is the horizon, that apparent boun- 
dary of the material world, within which, in his daily travels, 
the sun seems to be tied up. Hence the name Inti-huatana, 
" sun's halter," given by the ancient Peruvians to the stone 
circles so profusely scattered over the high plateaus of the 
Andes, along the shores of Lake Titicaca,^ in India, Arabia, 
northern Africa, northern Europe, where they are known as 
druidical circles. Their use is still a matter of discussion for 
European antiquaries. They disdain to seek in America for 
the explanation of the motives that prompted their erection 
and that of many other constructions, as well as the origin of 

' See Appendix, uotes vii. and xx. 

' George E. Squier, Peni : Incidents of Travels and Explorations in the 
Land of the Incas, chap, xx., p. 384. 

Augustus Le Plongeon, ^1 Sketch of the Ancient Inhabitants of Peru, chap. i. 


customs and traditions that continue to be among them the 
themes for useless controversies. 

The twelve scallops which surround the outer circle are the 
twelve houses or resting-places of the sun ; that is, the twelve 
months of the solar year, or twelve signs of the zodiac. As 
to the four double rays, those nearest to the houses of the sun 
typify the primordial Four, direct emanations from the central 
sun — the four Heavenly Giants who helped in fashioning the 
material universe. The lower ones symbolize the four primor- 
dial substances known to modern scientists as nitrogen, oxygen, 
hydrogen, and carbon, vs^hose various combinations form the 
four primitive elements — fire, water, air, and earth — into 
■which these can again be resolved. 

In the Appendix the esoteric explanation of the diagram is 
presented as it was given by the Maya sages to their pupils in 
the secrecy of the mysterious recesses of their temples. It cor- 
responds precisely to the doctrine of the cosmic evolution con- 
tained in that ancient Sanscrit book of " Dzyan," which forms 
the groundwork of Madame H. P. Blavatsky's "The Secret 
Doctrine." ' 

The Maya colonists who carried their conceptions of cosmic 

evolution to India, fearing lest the meaning of this diagram, 

purposely made so simple by the wise men in their mother 

country, should not be suificiently intelligible to the new ini- 

' H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, vol. i., pp. 27-35. "Is it a mere 
coincidence that the name Dzyan of the archaic Indian MS., whose trans- 
lation, %vith commentaries, Madame Blavatsky gave to the world, is a pure 
Maya word ? To write it according to the accepted manner of writing 
3Iaya, we must replace the double consonant dz by its equivalent o. We 
then have the word Qiau, which means "to be swollen by fire." In the 
book Dzyan, stanza iii., § 1, we read ; " The mother swells, artending from 
within without, lil-o the hud of the lotus ; " . . and § 0: " Light is cold 

flame, and flame is fire, and fire produces heat, which yields water ; the water 
of life in the great mother. ^^ . . . 

Page 16. 

Plate XVI. 

Page 17. 

Plate XVII. 


tiates to whom they communicated it in the land of their 
adoption, amplified it, and composed the " Sri-San tara, " mak- 
ing each part of easy comprehension. 

This, at first sight, may appear like an assertion of private 
opinion. It is not, however. It is the stating of an histor- 
ical fact, that becomes evident when we study said " Sri-San- 
tara," and notice that the names of its different parts, from 
Aditi, the "boundless," to Maya, the "earth," are not San- 
scrit, but pure American Maya words. 

Now, if the Hindoo priests, the Brahmins, did not receive 
their cosmogony from the Mayas, together with the diagram 
by which they symbolized it, how did it happen that they 
adopted precisely the same geometrical figures as the Mayas 
to typify their notions of the creation of the universe, which 
Ave are told they borrowed from " the materialistic religion of 
the non-Vedic population; " ' and that, in giving names to the 
various parts of said figures, they made use of vocables not 
belonging to their own vernacular, but to a language spoken 
b}' the inhabitants of a country distant many thousand miles 
from their own, and separated from it by the wastes of the 
ocean, the traversing of which was by them, as it is by their 
descendants, regarded as a defilement ? 

We must not lose sight of the fact that the Danavas and 
the Nagas were peoples who did not belong to the Aryan stock, 
and that they suffered a fierce persecution at the hands of the 
Brahmins when these acquired power. ^ 

As to these, their origin is one of the most obscure points 
in the annals of ancient India; they are barely mentioned in 
the Vedic hymns. When, in remote times, the Aryans invaded 

' J. Talboys Wheeler, History of India, vol. iii., p. 56. 
= Ibid. 


the Punjab, the Brahmins had no power or authority. They 
were merely messengers and sacrificers. No food so pure as 
that cooked by a Brahmin.' Others among them, having a 
devout turn of mind, were hermits doing penance, immersed 
in contemplation. At the time of Alexander's conquest of 
northern India, many lived in convents, practising occultism. 
They were called gymnosophists by the Greeks, and were re- 
garded as very wise men.' But it must be remembered that 
the period between the establishment of the Vedic settlements 
on the Saraswati and the conquest of Hindostan by the Aryans, 
when they had become the leading power, probably covers an 
interval of thousands of years.' 

" The Aryans appear to have had no definite idea of a uni- 
verse of being or of the creation of a universe." * From them, 
therefore, the Brahmins could not have borrowed their ac- 
count of the creation, Avhich differs from that we might infer 
from the Vedic hymns. ^ Still " Manu borrowed some of the 
ideas conveyed in his account of the creation of the universe 
by Brahma." ^ 

From whom did he borrow them ? 

" The Brahmins rarely attempted to ignore or denounce the 
traditions of any new people with whom they came in contact ; 
but rather they converted such materials into vehicles for the 
promulgation of their peculiar tenets." ' 

The Nagds, we have seen, were a highljr civilized people, 

'J. Talboys Wheeler, History of India, vol. ii., p. 640. 

" Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, lib. ii., cliap. 15, p. 242; 
lib. iii., chap. 11, p. 8. Translation of Charles Blount, London, 1G80. 

' .J. Talboys Wheeler, History of India, vol. ii., p. 024. 

* Ibid., p. 452. Adolphe Pictet, Les Origines Indo-Europeennes, vol. 
iii., p. 410. 

° J. T. Wheeler, History of India, vol. ii., p. 452. 

° Ihid., p. 449. ' Ibid., p. 450. 


Tvhose rulers held sway over the whole of Hindostan when the 
Aryans established their first colonies on the banks of the 
Saraswati. Later on we shall see that these Ndgds were orig- 
inally Maya adepts, who in remote ages migrated from May- 
ach to Burmah, whence they spread their doctrines among 
the civilized nations of Asia and Africa. How else explain the 
use of the American Maya language by the Hindoos, calling 
Maya the material world? (Ma, "country;" yacli, the 
veretnim of the ancestor, through which all living earthly 
things were produced.) 

This query may be answered by another. Why do we 
find English customs, English traditions, English language, 
in America, India, Australia, Africa, and a thousand and one 
other places very distant from each other, among peoples that 
do not even know of each other's existence ? Why, any one 
will say, because colonists from England have settled in those 
countries, and naturally carried there the customs, traditions, 
language, religion, sciences, and civilization of the mother 
country. Why, then, not admit that that which occurs in our 
day has taken place in past ages ? Is not man the same in all 
times ? Has not the stronger ahvays imposed his ideas on the 
weaker ? If in the struggle toward eternal progress, the most 
civilized has not always been physically victorious, history 
teaches that intellectually he has obtained the victory over his 
conqueror in the long run; proving, what has so many times 
been asserted, that mind is mightier than matter. 

Civilization is indeed like the waves of the sea; one wave 
follows another. Their crests are not of equal height. Some 
are higher; some are lower. Between them there is always a 
trough more or less deep. The Avave behind inevitably pushes 
that immediately before it, often overwhelms it. 


If we compare the " Sri-Santara " with the cosmogonic dia- 
gram of the Mayas, it does not require a great effort of 
imagination to perceive that it is an amplification of the latter. 
This being so, let us see what may b,e, in the Maya language, 
the meaning of the names of its different parts. 

The use of the Maya throughout these pages, to explain 
the meaning of names of deities, nations, and localities whose 
etymon is not only unknown but a mystery to philologists, 
will show the necessity of acquiring this most ancient form of 
speech. It is not a dead language, being the vernacular of well- 
nigh two millions of our contemporaries. Its knowledge will 
help us to acquire a better understanding of the origin of the 
early history of Egyptian civilization, of that of the Chaldeans, 
and of the nations of Asia Minor. It will also illumine the 
darkness that surrounds the primitive traditions of mankind. 
By means of it, we will read the ancient Maya books and 
inscriptions, reclaim from oblivion part, at least, of the ancient 
history of America, and thus be enabled to give it its place in 
the universal history of the world. We shall also be able to 
comprehend the amount of knowledge, scientific and historical, 
possessed by the wise men who wrote on stone the most strik- 
ing events in the life of their nation, their religious and cos- 
mogonic conceptions. Perhaps when the few books written 
by them that have reached us, and the monumental inscrip- 
tions still extant, have been thoroughly deciphered, many 
among the learned will have to alter their pet opinions, and 
confess that our civilization may not be .the highest ever 
reached by man. We must keep in mind the fact that we are 
only emerging from the deep and dark trough that had existed 
between the Greek and Roman civilizations and ours, and that 
we are as yet far from having arrived at the top of the wave. 


Before proceeding, I may remark that although the Mayas 
seem to have penetrated the interior of Asia as far as Meso- 
potamia, and to have dwelt a long time in that country as well 
as in Asia Minor; that although, from remote ages, they had 
sojourned in the Dekkan and other localities in the south 
of India; that although the Greek language was composed in 
great part of Maya, and the grammars of both these lan- 
guages were well-nigh identical ' — they and the Aryans, so far 
as shown by philology, never had intercourse with each other. 
After a thorough study of Mr. Adolphe Pictet's learned work, 
"Les Origines Indo-Europeennes ou les Aryas Primitifs," and 
a careful examination of their language and the Greek words 
derived from it, either directly, or indirectly through Sanscrit, 
then comparing these with the Maya, I am bound to confess 
that I have been unable to find the remotest analogy between 
them. ISTo — not one word! It might be supposed that the 
name of the most abundant and necessary fluid for living 
beings would be somewhat similar in languages concurring to 
form a third one. Not so, however. The erudite Mr. Pictet 
is at a loss as to the origin of the Greek word, thalassa, for 
" sea. " ^ Had he been acquainted with the Maya language, he 
would easily have found it in the word tliallac, that means 
a "thing unstable; " hence the Greek verb tarasso — thrasso — 
" to agitate." The name for water in Maya is ha, in Egyp- 
tian and Chaldean a. 

What are we to argue from this utter want of relation be- 
tween two peoples that have had such a stupendous influence 
on the civilization of Asiatic, African, and European popula- 

' Brasseur, Troano MS., vol. ii., edit. 1870. Introduction aux elements de 
la langue Maya, from p. xxiv. to p. xl. 

' Adolphe Pictet, Les Origines Indo-Europeennes, vol. i., pp. 138-139. 


tions? Shall we say that when the Mayas colonized the 
countries at the south of Asia, then the banks of the Eu- 
phrates, then the valley of the ]S"ile, and later Asia Minor, it 
was in ages so remote that the Aryans, regarded as a primitive 
people living at the dawn of history, had not yet multiplied 
to such numbers as to make it imperative for them to abandon 
their native country in search of new homes ? Shall we say 
that the Maya colonies much antedated the migrations of the 
Aryan tribes, that, abandoning their bactrian homes only 
about three thousand years before the Christian era,' went 
south and invaded the north of India; whilst others, going 
west, crossed over to Europe and spread over that continent ? 
This would explain the use of Maya instead of Sanscrit 
words for the names of the various parts of the '' Sri-Santara; " 
show the Maya to be more ancient than Sanscrit; and also 
account for the grammatical forms common to both the Maya 
and the Greek, that the ulterior admixture of Aryan words to 
the latter was unable to alter. 

We must premise the explanation of the names of the parts 
of the " Sri-Santara " by stating that the letters D, F, G, J, Q, 
and Fare not used in the Maya language.^ 

From remote ages the Brahmins taught that in the begin- 
ning existed the Infinite. This they called Aditi, "that 
which is above all things." It is precisely the meaning of the 
Maya words A titicli — com])osed of Ah, masculine article, 
the "strong," the "powerful; " and titicli, "that which is 
above all things."^ A-titicli or A-diti would then be the 
"powerful superior to all things," the " Infinite. " In this 

' A. Pictet, Zcs Origines Indo- Europeenitea, vol. iii., pp. 508-515. 
" Beltran de Santa Rosa, Arte del Idioma Maya. Gabriel de Sauta 
Buenaventura, Elemento.i de la Lingua Maya. 
^ Pio Perez, Bfaya dictionary. 

Plate XVIII. 




infinite dwelt Aum, whose name must precede all prayers, all 
invocations. ' Manu says that the monosyllable means ' ' earth, ' ' 
' ' sky, ' ' and ' ' heaven. ' ' ^ 

J. Talboys Wheeler says:' "As regards the three letters 
A, U, M, little can be gathered excepting that, when brought 
together in the word Aum they are said by Manu to form a 
symbol of the Lord of created beings, Brahma." Colebrooke 
says: "According, however, to the Nirukta, which is an 
ancient glossary of the Yedas., the syllable Aum refers to every 
deity. The Brahmins may reserve for their initiates an esoteric 
meaning more ample than that given by Manu." But by 
means of the Maya language we learn its full significance. 

A-U-M : 
A — for Ah, masculine article: the fecundating power; the 

TJ — feminine pronoun: the basin; the generative power; the 

M — Melieii: the engendered; the son; or. Ma, yes and no; 
the androgynus. 

Any way we combine the three letters of the sacred mono- 
syllable — in the Maya language — they give us the names and 
attributes of each person of the Trimourti. 

For instance: Au-M — thy maker. 

A-U-M — thy mother's son. 

U- A-M —I am the male creator. 

M-U-A — the maker of these waters. 

We read in the first chapter of the ordinances of Manu,* 

that the Supreme Being produced first the waters, and in them 

' Manava-Dliarma-Sastra, book ii., Sloka 74. 
= lUd., 76-77. 

^ J. T. Wheeler, History of India, vol. ii., p. 481. 
* Manava-Bharma-Sastra, book i., Sloka 8. 


deposited a germ, an egg, in which He himself was born again 
under the shape of Brahma, the great ancestor of all beings. 
This egg, this golden uterus, is called Hiramyaga/rbha.^ This 
word is composed of the following four Maya vocables, 
hilaan, yam, kalba, ha, expressing the idea of something 
floating in the water: hilaan, "to be dragged;" yam, 
" midst; " kalba, " enclosed; " ha, " water." 

In it was born Brahma, the Creator, the origin of all 
beings, "he who was submerged in the waters." So reads 
his name, according to the Maya — Be-lam-ha : Be, " the 
way;" lam, "submerged;" ha, "water." 

The waters were called Nara, says Manu,^ because they 
were the production of Nara the divine spirit, ' ' the mother 
of truth: " Naa, "mother; " La, " eternal truth," that con- 
tained the hidden voice of the mantras. The verb Yach, 
Uach (Maya), "a thing free from fetters," the divine male; 
the first embodied spirit Viradj, Uilal (Maya), " that which is 
necessary," whose union with Maya produced all things. 

Again we may ask, Is the use of Maya words in this 
instance without significance? Does the similaritj' of the 
ancient Indian architecture to that of the Mayas — which so 
puzzled the learned English architect, the late James Fergus- 
son — or the use of the Maya triangular arch, and no other, 
in all sacred buildings in India, prove nothing? And the 
practice of stamping the hand, dipped in red pigment, on the 
walls of temples and palaces, as a way of invoking the benison 
of the gods, or of asserting OAvnership to the building, as with 
a seal, being common both in Mayach and India; or the cus- 
tom of carrying children astride on the hip, which was never 

'11. T. Colebrooke, Notice on tlie Vedas, lib. ii., § vi. 
" Ma!iaea-D!iarm.a-Sastra, book i., Sloka 10. 


done by the Mayas without first performing a very interest- 
ing ceremony called Heomek ; * or the prevalence of the tree 
and serpent worship, or that of the cross and the elephant, 
among the Mayas as among the Hindoos — is all this without 
meaning ? 

In another work'^ I have shown how the worship of the tree 
originated in Mayach, and why it was always allied to that of 
the serpent and of the monarch. But no antiquary has ever 
been able to trace the origin of these cults either to Egypt, 
Chaldea, or India, although it is weU known they existed in 
those countries from remote ages. 

The object of these pages is not to give here all the proofs 
that can be adduced of the presence of the Mayas in India, and 
of the influence of their civilization on its inhabitants ; but to 
follow their traxjks along the shores of the Indian Ocean, into 
the interior of Asia, across Asia Minor where they established 
colonies, on to Africa, until finally they reached the valley of 
the Mle, and laid the foundation of the renowned Egyptian 
kingdom, some six thousand years before the reign of Menes, 
the first terrestrial Egyptian king.' 

' Alice D. Le Plongeon, Harper's Magazine, vol. xx., p. 385. 
"^ Augustus Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 109, et passim. 
' Bunsen, Egypt's Place Ml Universal History, vol. iii., p. 15. 


Continuing the examination of the cosmogonic diagrams of 
ancient historic Asiatic nations, we find, next in importance, 
the " Ensoph " of the Chaldees. It can be seen at a glance 
that this also is an amplification of the Maya symbol of the 
universe, as yet existing atUxmal, as well as of the " Sri-San- 
tara ' ' of the Hindoos. 

It may be asked, How came the Chaldees to adopt the 
same geometrical figures used by the Mayas to symbolize their 
cosmogonic conceptions ? 

Berosus, the Chaldean historian, tells us that civilization 
was brought to Mesopotamia by Cannes and six other beings, 
half man, half fish, who came from the Persian Gulf; in other 
words, by men who dwelt in boats, which is precisely tlie 
meaning of the vocable " Cannes," or Hoa-ana in tlie Maya 
language (ha, "water;" a, "thy;" iia, "house," "resi- 
dence" — "he who has his residence on the water"). Sir 
Henry Eawlinson, speaking of the advent of the earlj'^ Chal- 
deans in Mesopotamia, says :' " With this race originated the 

' Sii' Henry RiixvUdsou, note to Herodotus, lib. i., 181, in George Rawl- 
inson's Ikraitoti/s, vol. i., p. 319. 

Plate XIX. 

MaitL Tested [qooiJ 


art of writing, the building of cities, the institution of a reli- 
gious system, the cultivation of all sciences and of astronomy 
in particular." 

If philology, like architecture, may serve as guide in fol- 
lowing the footsteps of a people in its migrations on the face 
of the earth, then we may safely affirm that the Mayas, at 
some epoch or other, travelling along the shores of the Indian 
Ocean, reached the mouth of the Indus, and colonized Beloo- 
chistan and the countries west of that river to Afghanistan; 
where, to this day, Maya tribes live on the north banks of the 
Kah%iZ River. ^ 

The names of the majority of the cities and localities in 
that country are words having a natural meaning in tlie Maya 
language; they are, in fact, those of ancient cities and villages 
whose ruins cover the soil of Yucatan, and of several still 

I have made a careful collation of the names of these cities 
and places in Asia, with their meaning in the Maya language. 
In this work my esteemed friend the Rt. Eev. Dr. Dn. Crecen- 
cio Carillo y Ancona, the present bishop of Yucatan, has kindly 
helped me, as in many other studies of Maya roots and words 
now obsolete ; the objects to which they applied having ceased 
to exist or having fallen into disuse. ^ Bishop Carillo is a liter- 
ary gentleman of well-known ability, the author of an ancient 
history of Yucatan, a scholar well versed in the language of 
his forefathers. He is of Maya descent. 

Following the Mayas in their journeys westward, along 
the seacoasts, we next find traces of them at the head of the 

' London Times, weekly edition, March 4, 1879, p. G, col. 4. 
= This list is given in full in my large work, yet unpublished, The 
Monuments of Mayach and their Hixtoriad Teachings. 


Persian Gulf, where they formed settlements in the marshy 
country at the mouth of the Euphrates, known to history 
under the name of Aklcad. 

The meaning of that name, given to the plains and marshy 
lands situated to the south of Babylonia, has been, until of 
late, a puzzle to students of Assyriology; and it still is an 
enigma to them why a country utterly devoid of mountains 
should have been called Akkad. Have not the weU-known 
scholars, the late George Smith of Chaldean Genesis fame, 
Eev. Prof. A. H. Sayce of Oxford in England, and Mr. 
Francois Lenormant in France, discovered, by translating one 
of the bilingual lexicographical tablets found in the royal 
library of the palace of King Asurbanipal in Mneveh, that 
in Akkadian language it meant " mountain," "high country," 
whilst the word for " low country," " plain," was Smner ; and 
that, by a singular antithesis, the Sumerians inhabited the 
mountains to the eastward of Babylonia, and the Akkadians 
the plains watered by the Tigris and the Euphrates and the 
marshes at the mouth of this river ? 

The way they try to explain such strange anomaly is by 
supposing that, in very remote times, the AMacU dwelt in the 
mountains, and the Sumeri in the plains; and that at some 
unknown, unrecorded period, and for some unknown reason, 
these nations must have migrated en masse, exchanging their 
abodes, but still preserving the names by which they were 
known, regardless of the fact that said names were at variance 
with the character of the localities in which they now dwelt ; 
but they did it both from custom and tradition.^ 

Shall we say, " Si non e vero e hen trovato,^^ although this 
may or may not be the case, there being no record that said 
' Pran(;ois Lenormaut, Chaldean Magic and Sorcery, p. 399. 


permutation ever took place, and it therefore cannot be 

The Maya, of which we find so many yestiges in the 
Akkadian language, afifords a most natural, thence rational, 
etymology of the name Ahhad, and in perfect accordance with 
the character of the country thus named. Akal is a Maya 
word, the meaning of which is " pond," ^ " marshy ground; " 
and akil is a marshy ground fuU of reeds and rushes, such as 
was and still is lower Mesopotamia and the localities near the 
mouth of the Euphrates. 

As to the name -Sumer, its etymology, although it is also 
very clear according to the Maya, seemed perplexing to the 
learned Mr. Lenormant, who nevertheless has interpreted it 
correctly, " the low country. " The Akkadian root sum evi- 
dently corresponds to the Greek kvixISo';^ " bottom," "depres- 
sion," and to the Maya, koin, a valley. The Sumeri would 
then be the inhabitants of the valleys, while the Akkari would 
be those of the marshes. 

From this and from what win directly appear let it not be 
supposed that the ancient Alckadian and ancient Maya are 
cognate languages. The great number of Maya words found 
in the Akkadian have been ingrafted on it by the Maya colo- 
nists, who in remote times established themselves in Akkad, 
and became prominent, after a long sojourn in the country, 
under the name of Kaldi. 

Through the efforts of such eminent scholars as Dr. Hincks, 
Sir Henry Eawlinson, Dr. Oppert, Monsieur Grivel, Professor 
Sayce, Mr. Frangois Lenormant, and others, the old Akkadian 
tongue, or much of it, has been recovered, by translating the 

' Sir Henry Layard {Mneneli and Babylon, p. 356) says that the ancient 
name of the Mediterranean was Akkari. 



tablets that composed King Asurbanipal's library. Mr. Le- 
normant has published an elementary grammar and vocabulary 
of it. From this I cull the few following words that are pure 
Maya, with the same signification in both languages. Having^ 
but a limited space to devote here to so interesting a subject, 
in my selection I have confined myself to words so unequivo- 
cally similar that their identity cannot be questioned. 


A, • 




Water. A is also tlie Egyptian for water. 






Father, par excellence; ancestor. 



Companion ; also Pal. 






Before ; that which is in front ; gat, hand. 



Hand ; arm ; branch of a tree. 


A particle that, in composition, indicates that 
the action of the verb takes place quickly. 



That which is below. 



Radical of Kernel, to descend softly; with- 
out noise. 



To complete; to finish. 



Abundant; exceeding. 


Fire ; to burn ; hence to destroy, to finish, etc. 



The world ; the countries. 



Tlie world ; the universe. 









Inside of the earth ; under. 



Upside down ; the inverse side. 



The inhabitable earth. 



The nations; the ancestors. 



The seed of animals. 



Tlie seat; the rump; also to worship, as itt 



The tail. 



MuUeris pudenda. 






Day; sun. 








To place in safety. 



Sign of possession ; to take. 



To take away; to empty. 



Expresses the idea of locality; the earth. 



The earth; the country. Ma is likewise 
Egyptian for country ; place. 



Expresses the idea of an internal or external 
locative — into ; from ; from within ; as 
tan ; Ma ta, country. 



Place; smooth and level ground. 


Toward ; in the centre ; before ; near. 



To bear toward. 



Place; neighborhood; place where one stands. 



Prefixed to verbs, nouns, or adjectives, is the 
sign of negation. 



Prefixed to verbs, nouns, or adjectives, is the 
sign of negation. Ma uolel Iianal ("I 
don't wish to eat "). So also it is in Greek. 



To be. 



1 am. 














San, Sana, 




Four ; also serpent. 

' Mr. Lenormant, Chaldean Magic and Sorcery, p. 300, in a foot-note re- 
marks : "I do not give the name of number 'four' in this table, because 
in the Akkadian it seems quite distinct." The Akkadian word San is (in 
Maya) can. See farther on for the various meanings and the power of 
that word, which among the Mayas was the title of the dynasty of their 
kings. It meant "serpent." Mr. Lenormant (p. 232) says that "the serpent 
with seven heads was invoked by the Akkadians." Was this seven-headed 
serpent the Ali-ac-chapat, totem of the seven members of the family of 
King Canchi of Mayacli, that no doubt the Ndgds worshipped at Angor- 
Tliom in Cambodia ? (See Le Plongeou, Sacred Mysteries, p. 145.) Sir 
George Rawlinson {The Five Great Monarchies, vol. i., p. 122) says, "The 
Accadians made the serpent one of the principal attributes, and one of the 
forms of Hea." 








Light; brilliancy. 



To place ; to add. 



To tie; to join; to unite. 


Xa or Xana, 







To cut. 



To cut with an axe. 






Word. CiMl, to speak. 



The moon. 



The moon. 



The moon. 



Sun struck ; lighted by the sun. 

Modern Assyriologists, after translating the tablets on 
Assyrian and Chaldean magic, written in the Akkadian lan- 
guage, agree with the prophetical books of Scripture in the 
opinion that the Chaldees descended from the primitive Akka- 
dians, and that those people spoke a language differing from 
the Semitic tongues. A writer in the British and Foreign 
Review says:' "Babylonia was inhabited at an early period 
by a race of people entirely different from the Semitic popula- 
tion known in historic times. This people had an abundant 
literature, and they were the inventors of a system of writing 
which was at first hieroglyphic. ... Of the people who 
invented this system of writing very little is kno^vn with cer- 
tainty, and even the name is a matter of doubt." 

According to Berosus, who was a Chaldean priest, these 
first inhabitants of Babylonia, whose early abode was in Chal- 
dea, were foreigners of another race {aWo^BviU^} He care- 
fully establishes a distinction between them and the Assyrians. 

' British and Foreign Review, No. 103, January, 1870, vol. ii., p. 305. 
' Berosus, Fragments, J§ 5, G, 11. 


Those primitive Alckadians, those strangers in Mesopotamia, 
the aborigines would naturally have regarded as guests in the 
country. Taking a hint from this idea, they called their first 
settlement ula or ul, a Maya word meaning " guests newly 
arrived." In this settlement in the marshy ground, lest the 
natives or the wild beasts that swarmed in the reeds should 
attack them, the strangers surrounded their dwellings with 
palisades, and designated the place as Kal-ti, whence Kaldi 
by which their tribe continued to be known even when they 
became influential. The word kalti is composed of two 
Maya primitives — kal, "to be enclosed with posts," and ti, 
" place." 

In my work " The Monuments of Mayach and their Histor- 
ical Teachings," I have traced step by step the journey of the 
Maya colonists, along the course of the Euphrates, to the 
"City of the Sun," Babylon, called in Akkadian, according 
to Mr. Lenormant,' Kd-Dingira or Tin-tir, the et3Tnology of 
which appears to be unlcnown to him, though very easily found 
by means of the Maya. The name Kd-Dingira seems to be 
composed of four Maya primitives — Cah, "city;" Tin, a 
particle which in composition indicates the place where one is 
or an action happens; Kin, "priest; " La, "eternal truth," 
the god, the sun. Cah-Tin-kin-la, or be it Kd-Bingira, is 
" the city where reside the priests of the sun." 

The name Thv-tir, Maya Tin-til, means Tin, "the place 
where a thing actually exists; " Tiliz, by elision til, " sacred," 
' ' mysterious, " " venerable. ' ' Tin-til would therefore be " the 
holy, the mysterious place, ' ' a very appropriate title for a sacred 
city. Til may, again, be the radical of Tilil, which means 
" property. " Tin-til would in this case signify " this place is 
' Lenormant, Chaldean Magic and Sorcery, pp. 193 353. 


my property ; it belongs to me, the god, the sun, ' ' which is in 
perfect accordance with this other ethnic name of Babylon, 
Ka-Ea, or be it Cali-La, " the city of eternal truth," of " the 

The name given to the temple of the "seven lights of 
heaven," as well as its mode of construction, shows that the 
builders were colonists from a country where that kind of edi- 
fice — the pyramid of stone — was not only common, but had so 
been from remote ages. 

Babel is a word whose etymon has been a bone of conten- 
tion for Orientalists and philologists. They are not yet agreed 
as to its meaning, simply because they do not know to what 
language it belongs nor whence came the people who raised the 
monument. We are told they were strangers in the plains of 
Shinar. Did they come originally from Mayacli ? They 
spoke the vernacular of that country far off beyond the sea 
toward the rising sun, and Genesis asserts that they had 
journeyed from the east.' 

Ba, in Maya, has various meanings; the principal, how- 
ever, is "father," "ancestor." 

Bel has also several significations. Among these it stands 
for "way," "custom." 

Ba-bel would therefore indicate that the sacred edifice was 
constructed according to the way, the custom, of the builders' 

Landa, in his work "Las Cosas de Yucatan," informs us 
that the Mayas were very fond of giving nicknames to all 
persons prominent among them. The same fondness exists to- 
day among their descendants, who seldom speak of their supe- 
riors by their name, but a sobriquet descriptive of some marked 
' Genesis, cliiiii. xi., vcvsc 3. 


characteristic observed by them and belonging to the individ- 
ual. For instance, should anybody inquire concerning me, by 
my proper name, of the men who for months accompanied 
me in my expeditions in the ruined cities of Yucatan, they 
certainly would shake their heads and answer, "Don't know 
him." But if asked about the Ahmeexnal, "he of the 
long beard," then they would at once understand who was 
meant. 1 

This same custom seems to have prevailed among the prim- 
itive Akkadians, judging from the names of their first kings, 
the builders of the cities along the banks of the Euphrates, 
whose seals are stamped on the bricks used in the foundations 
of the edifices erected by them. 

Urukh, we are told, is one of them ; Likhdbi is another 
frequently met with. 

It is well known that no stones are to be found on the allu- 
vial plains of Mesopotamia, that consequently the first cities 
were built of mud; that is, of sun-dried bricks — adobes. It is 
probably from that fact that they called the king who ordered 
them to be built Unikh, ' ' he who makes everything from mud. ' ' 

' It always was, and it is to-day, a characteristic of the Mayas to give 
surnames to tliose whom they regard as tlieir superiors. Cogolludo speaks 
of that peculiarity, and mentions their great witticism in tlius giving nick- 
names, so that those to whom they were given could not take offence, even 
when they knew they were derided. An instance of this kind comes to niy 
mind. Nalcuk-Pcch, a native nobleman who wrote a narrative of the 
conquest of Yucatan by the Spaniards, in the Maya language, represents 
them as addicted to drunkenness and to all sorts of debauchery ; yet calls 
them Kul-uiiilcob, the holy men, who earae to preach a "holy religion." 
But that nickname has asecoud meaning. Kul, it is true, means holy. Pro- 
nouncing the k softly, wliich a foreigner unaccustomed to the Maya pro- 
nunciation invariably does, it sounds Clll, which means a " cup," n " gob- 
let," a "chalice," just as the Greek uvXe. Therefore, cul-uiiiicob means 
" men addicted to the cup" — drunkards. 


TJruTch is a word composed of two Maya primitives — huk, 
"to make everything," and luk, " mud." In composition 
Huk-luk would become contracted into Huluk, hence 

This is also said to have been the name of the city of 
Erech, the seat of a famous Akkadian ecclesiastical college.* 
This, however, does not alter the meaning of the Maya 
etymology of the word, nor make it less appropriate, since the 
town was built of bricks dried in the sun — of mud, conse- 

As to the name of King Likbahi ^ it is also composed of two 
Maya primitives — lik, "to transport," and bab, "to row." 
It is extremely probable that when constructing the temples 
in whose foundations his name has been found, as there were 
no roads for transporting easily by land his building materials, 
he made use of the most convenient waterway offered by the 
Euphrates. Hence his sobriquet, Zikhahi, "he who transports 
aU things by water," that is, "bj^ rowing." 

In the language of Akkad were preserved all the scien- 
tific treatises of the Babylonians. But from the time when 
the Semitic tribes established themselves in Assyria, in or 
about the thirteenth century b.c, the Akkadian language 
began to fall into disuse. It was soon forgotten by the gener- 
ality of the inhabitants. Its knowledge became the exclusive 
privilege of the priests, who were the depositaries of aU learn- 
ing. When the Semitic conquerors imposed their own dialect 
on the vanquished, the ancient tongue of Akkad remained, 
according to Sir Henry Eawlinson,' the language of science in 

' F. Lcnormant, Chaldean Magic and Sorcery, pp. 13, 323. 

" lUd., pp. 318-331. 

' Apud George Rawlinson, Herodotus, vol. i., p. 319. 


the East, as Latin was in the "West during the middle ages. In 
the seventh century b.c, Asurbanipal, king of Assyria, tried 
to revive it. He ordered copies of the old treatises in the 
Akkadian language to be made, and also an Assyrian translation 
to be placed beside the text. It is those copies that have reached 
our times, conveying to us the knowledge of this ancient form 
of speech, that but few among the learned men of Babylon had 
preserved at the time of the fall of the Babylonian Empire, 
when Darius took possession of the city of Belus.' We are 
informed by the Book of Daniel that none of the king's wise 
men could read the fatidical words, written by a spirit's hand ■ 
on the wall of the banquet hall of King Belshazzar. Only 
one, Daniel the prophet, who was learned in all the lore of 
ancient Chaldeans, could interpret them.^ Dr. Isaac of New 
York, and other learned rabbins, assert that these words were 
Chaldaic. But they Avere, and still are, vocables pertaining to 
the American Maya language, having precisely the same 
meaning as given them by Daniel.^ The Maya words 
Maiiel, mane, tec, uppali, read in English: 

Manel, " Thou art past," in the sense of finished. 

Mane, " Thou art bought," hence " weighed " (all things 
being bought and sold by weight). 

Tec, "light," "not ponderous." The word is taken to- 
day in the sense of " swift," " agile." 

Uppah, "Thou wilt be broken in two." To that word 

are allied jiaa and paaxal, "to break in two," "to break 

asunder," " to scatter the inhabitants of a place." ^ 

' Herodotus, lib. iii., 151, 158. 
° Book of Daniel, chap, i., verse 17. 
^ Ibid., chap, v., verses 35-28. 

* Pedro Beltrau, Arte del Idioma Maya. Pio Perez, Maya dictionary. 
Gf. ooaioo, " to break." 


Is this a mere coincidence ? By no means. There can be 
no doubt that the Akkadian or Chaldean tongue contained 
many Maya words. The limits of this work do not allow me 
to adduce all the proofs I could bring forward to fully establish 
their intimate relationship. A few more must suffice for the 

Let us take, for instance, the last words, according to 
Matthew and Mark,' spoken by Jesus on the cross, when a 
sponge saturated with posca'^ was put to his lips: "Eli, Eli, 
lamah sdbachthani.''^ 

No wonder those who stood near him could not understand 
what he said. To this day the translators of the Gospels do 
not know the meaning of these words, and make him, who 
they pretend is the God of the universe, play before manldnd 
a sorry and pitiful role, I will not say for a god, but for a 
man even. He spoke pure Maya. He did not complain 
that God had forsaken him when he said to the charitable 
individual Avho tried to allay the pangs of the intolerable thirst 
he suffered in consequence of the hardships he had endured, 
and the torture of the chastisement inflicted on him: "Hele, 
Hele, laiiiali zabac ta ni ; " that is, " Now, now, I am 
fainting; darkness covers my face; " or, in John's words, " It 
is finished." ^ 

' Matthew, chap, xxvii., verse 46. Mark, ch.ap. xv., verse 34. 

'^ Posca was tlic ordinary beverage of Roman soldiers, which the}' were 
obliged to carrj' with them in all their expeditious, among which were tlie 
executions of criminals. Our authorities on this matter are Spartianus 
(Life of Iladrhm, § 10) and Vulcatius Gallicanus (Lifeof Aridlus Cnssiui, {, 5). 
This posca was a very cooling drink, very agreeable in hot climates, as the 
writer can certifj', having frequently used it in his expeditions among the 
ruined cities of tlie Mayas. It is made of vinegar and water, sweetened 
with sugar or houey, n kind of oximel. 

'John, chap, xix., verse 30. 

Page 82. 

Plate XXVIII. 


Again, in the legend of the creation, as reported by Bero- 
sus, according to Eusebius * the Chaldeans believed that a 
■woman ruled over aU the monstrous beasts which inhabited 
the waters at the beginning of all things. Her name was 
Thalatth. The Greeks translated it Tlialassa, and applied 
it to the sea itself. Ask modern philologists what is the 
etymology of that word. They will answer, It is lost. I say, 
]S"o — it is not lost ! Ask again any Maya scholar the meaning 
of the word tliallac. He wiU tell you it denotes " a thing 
without steadiness," like the sea. 

Again, Avhen confidence in legal divination became shaken 
by the progress of philosophical incredulity, and the observa- 
tion of auguries was well nigh reduced to a simple matter of 
form,^ Chaldean magicians, whose fame was universal and 
dated from very remote antiquity, flocked to Eome, and were 
welcomed by the Romans of all classes and both sexes.' Their 
influence soon became so great as to excite the superstitious 
fears of the emperors, praetors, and others high in authority. 
As a consequence, they were forbidden under heavy penalties, 
even that of death, to exercise their science.* In the year 721 
of Home, under the triumvirate of Octavius, Antonius, and 
Lepidus, they were expelled from the city.^ They then scat- 
tered in the provinces — in Gaul, Spain, Germany, Brittany, etc. 

Messrs. Lenormant and Chevalier, in their " Ancient His- 
tory of the East, ' ' ^ inform us that when these conjurers exor- 

' Eusebius, ChronL, can. i. 2, pp. 11-13. 
''Cicero, Be Natura Deorum^ 11, 3. 

^ Juvenal, Satires, vi. 553. Chaldeis sed major erit fidncia. 
* Heiueccius, Elements of Moman Jurisprudence, vol. i., Tabul viii., art. 
25, p. 496. 

' Dion Cassius, xlix., 43, p. 756, Tacitus, Annal, 11-83. 

' Lenormant et Chevalier, Ancient IlistorTj of the East, vol. i., p. 448. 


cised evil spirits they cried, " Hilha, hilka! Besha, hesha!'''' 
which they render, " Go away, go away! evil one, evil one! " 

These authors little suspected, when they wrote those words, 
that they were giving a correct translation of the Maya voca- 
bles ilil ka xaxbe, forming part of a language still spoken 
by thousands of human beings. 

In order to understand properly the meaning of the exor- 
cism, we must read it, as all ancient Maya writings should be 
read, from right to left, thus: xabe, xabe ! kail ! kail ! The 
Maya X is the equivalent of the English sh. 

Xabe is evidently a corruption of the Maya verb xaxbe, 
"to be put aside," "to make room for one to pass." Kd, 
or kaii means " something bitter," " sediment." Ka in 
Egyptian was "spirit," "genius," equivalent to the Maya 
ku, "god." II is a contraction of the Maya adjective ilil, 
"vicious," a "forbidden thing," corresponding exactly to the 
English "ill," and having the same meaning.^ The literal 
rendering of these words would therefore be, "Aside, aside! 
evil spirit, evil spirit ! " as given by Messrs. Lenormant and 

J. Collin de Plancy, in his " Dictionnaire Infernal," under 
the title ' ' Magic Words, ' ' tells us that magicians taught that the 
fatal consequences of the bite of a mad dog could be averted 
by repeating haxpax nnax. The learned author of the diction- 
ary deprecates the ignorant superstition of people who believe 
in such nonsense; and he himself, through his ignorance of 
the American Maya language, fails to comprehend the great 
scientific importance of those words that to him are meaning- 

■ Pio Perez, Maya dictionary, aud also ancient Maya dictionary SIS. 
in Brown Librury, Providence, R. I. 


These words belong to the Maya tongue, although we are 
told they are Chaldee and used by Chaldean magicians. 

Hax, in Maya, is a small cord or twine twisted by hand; 
that is to say, on the spur of the moment, in a hurry. Such 
cord would naturally be used to make a ligature to stop the 
circulation of the blood in the wounded limb, to prevent the 
rabid virus from entering into it. This ligature is still made 
use of in our day by the aborigines of Yucatan in case of any 
one being bitten by a snake or other venomous animal. 

Pax is a Maya verb of the third conjugation, the meaning 
of which is to play on a musical instrument. 

The action of music on the nervous system of animals, of 
man particularly, was well known of the ancients. They had 
recourse to harmonious sounds to calm the fury of those 
afflicted with insanity. We read in the Bible: ' " And it came 
to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that 
David took a harp, and the evil spirit departed from him. ' ' "We 
are aware that music can excite all passions in man or appease 
them when aroused. Martial sounds inflame in the breast of 
warriors homicidal rage, and they rush blindly to combat and 
slay one another without cause or provocation. Patriotic 
hymns sustain the courage of the victims of political parties, 
even in the face of death. Soft and sweet melodies soothe the 
evil passions, predisposing the mind to peace, quietude, and 
meditation. Religious strains excite ecstasy, when the mind 
sees visions of heavenly things, and the enthusiasts become 
convinced that they hold communion with celestial beings, 
whoever or whatever these may be, and imagine they act under 
divine impulse. 

The thaiimaturgi of old were well acquainted with the in- 
' 1 Samuel, chap, xvi., verse 23. 


fluence of music on men. In the temples of Greece and Asia 
they used flutes, cymbals, drums, etc. , among other means, to 
induce in certain individuals the abnormal condition known 
to-day as " clairvoyance," and to develop prophetic exaltation. 
And Elisha said: ' " But now bring me a minstrel; and it came 
to pass when the minstrel played that the hand of the Lord 
came upon him." 

Pax, then, indicates that in cases of hydrophobia they had 
recourse to musical instruments to calm the patient and assuage 
his sufferings. 

Max is the Maya name for a certain species of wild pepper 
(the Myrtus pimenta of Linnaeus, the Eugenia pimenta of De 
CandoUe). It grows spontaneously and in great abundance in 
the West Indies, Yucatan, Central America, in fact, through- 
out the tropical regions of the "Western Continent. Cayenne 
pepper, therefore, was considered by the Chaldeans as by the 
Mayas an antidote to the rabic virus, and applied to the 
wounds, as garlic is in our day and has been from remote ages. 
It is a very ancient custom among the aborigines of Yucatan, 
when anybody is bitten by a rabid dog, to cause the victim 
to chew garlic, swallow the juice, and apply the pulp to the 
wounds made by the animal's teeth. They firmly believe that 
such application and internal use of the garlic surely cure 
hydrophobia, or any other evil consequences of the venomous 
virus introduced into the body by the bites of certain animals. 

Eesuming, liax, pax, max, simply means, make a liga- 
ture, soothe the patient by means of soft music, apply wild 
pepper to cauterize the wounds and counteract the effects of 
the poison. 

Let us mention another name the etymon of which, from 
'2 Kings, chap, iii., verse 15. 1 Samuel, cliap. x., verse 5. 


the Maya, is so evident that it cannot be regarded as a mere 
coincidence. A hjrmn in the Akkadian language, an invoca- 
tion to the god Asshur, the mighty god who dwells in the 
temple of Kharsah-lcurra, "the mountain of the world, daz- 
zling with gold, silver, and precious stones," has been trans- 
lated by Professor Sayce of England.' 

The name of the god and that of the temple in which he 
was worshipped are bright flashes that illumine the darkness 
surrounding the origin of these ancient nations and their civil- 
ization. In Maya the words Kliarsak-hurra would have to be 
spelled Kal-zac-kul-la, the meaning of which is, literally, 
kal, "enclosure;" zac, "white;" kul, "to adore;" la, 
"eternal truth," "God;" that is, "the white enclosure 
where the eternal truth is worshipped." As to the name 
of the god Asshur, or Axul in Maya, it means, a, "thy; " 
xul, "end." 

In all nations that have admitted the existence of a Su- 
preme Being, He has always been regarded as the beginning 
and the end of all things, to which men have aspired, and do 
aspire, to be united after the dissolution of the physical body. 
This reunion with God, this Nirvana, this End, has in all 
ages been esteemed the greatest felicity to which the spirit 
can attain. Hence the name Axiil, or Asshur, given to the 
Supreme Deity by the Assyrians and the Chaldeans. 

' Professor A. H. Sayce (translation), Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western 
Asia, London, vol. i., pp. 44-i5 ; also Records of the Past, vol. xi., pp. 
131-132. Also Lenormant, Chaldean Magic, p. 168 ; last revised transla- 
tion in Les Origines de VHistoire, vol. ii., pp. 127-128. 


Some of these Maya-speaking peoples, following the migra- 
tory instincts inherited from their early ancestors, left the banks 
of the Euphrates and the city of Babylon, and went forth 
across the Syrian desert, toward the setting sun, in search of 
new lands and new homes. They reached the Isthmus of Suez. 
Pushing their way through it, they entered the fertile vaUey 
of the NUe. Following the banks of the river, they selected 
a district of Nubia, where they settled, and which they named 
Maiu,' in remembrance of the birthplace of their people in 
the lands of the setting sun, whose worship they established 
in their newly adopted country.^ 

When the Maya colonists reached the vaUey of the Nile, 
the river was probably at its full, having overflowed its banks. 
The communications between the native settlements being 
then impossible except by means of boats, these must have 
been very numerous. What more natural than to call it the 

' Henry Brugscli-Bey, History of Egypt under tlie Pharaohs, vol. i., p. 3C3 ; 
vol. ii., pp. 78-174. 

' Tliotli is said to have been the first wlio introduced into Egypt the 
worship of the " Setting Sun." 



*' country of boats " — Chem, this being the Maya for 

Be it remembered that boats, not chariots, must have been 
the main means of transportation among the early Egyptians. 
Hence, unlike the Aryans, the Greeks, the Romans, and other 
nations, they did not figure the sun travelling through the 
heavens in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds, but sailing in the 
sky in a boat ; nor were their dead carried to their resting- 
place in the West in a chariot, but in a boat. ' 


No doubt at the time of their arrival the waters were 
swarming with crocodiles, so they also naturally called the 
country the "place of crocodiles," Ain, which word is the 
name of Egypt on the monuments ; ^ and in the hieroglyphs 
^^■H the tail of that animal stood for it. But Ain is the 

©Maya for "crocodile." The tail serves as rudder to 
the animal ; so for the initiates it symbolized, in this 
instance, a boat as well as a crocodile.^ 
" A real enigma," says Mr. Henry Brugsch, " is proposed 

' Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., p. 178. 

' Henry Brugsch-Bey, Hist, of Egypt, vol. i., p. 10. 

^ Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., p. 200. 


to US in the derivation of the curious proper names by which 
the foreign peoples of Asia, each in its own dialect, were ac- 
customed to designate Egypt. The Hebrews gave the land 
the name of Misraim ; the Assyrians, Muzur. We may feel 
assured that at the basis of all these designations there lies an 
original form which consisted of the three letters 31, z, r — all 
explanations of which have as yet been unsuccessful." ' 

It may be asked, and with reason, How is it that so many 
learned Egyptologists, who have studied the question, have 
failed to find the etymology of these words ? 

The answer is, indeed, most simple. It is because they have 
not looked for it in the only language where it is to be found 
— the Maya. 

Egypt has always been a country mostly devoid of trees, 
which were uprooted by the inundation, whose waters carried 
their debris and deposited them all over the land. The hus- 
bandman, in order to plough the soil, had first to clear it 
from the rubbish; hence no doubt the names Misur, or Muzur, 
given to it by the Assyrians. Well, then, miz, in the Maya 
language, means " to clear away rubbish of trees," and inuu- 
zul "to uproot trees." 

Not satisfied with these ononiatopoetic names, they gave 
the new place of their adoption others that would i-ecall to 
their mind and to that of their descendants the mother country 
beyond the western seas. We learn from the Troano MS., 
the Codex Cortesianus, and the inscriptions, that Mayacli 
from the remotest ages was symbolized either as a beb (mul- 
berrj'^ tree) or as a haaz (banana-tree);^ also by a serpent 
with inflated breast, standing erect in the midst of the waters 

' Henry Brugscli-I3ey, Hist, of Ki/i/pt, vol. i., p. 13. 

' Aug. Lc Ploiigeoii, Sacrid Mi/ati'iiiS, p. 115, et 2iiissim. 

Page 8£. 

Plate XXIX. 



between the two American. Mediterraneans, the Gulf of Mex- 
ico and the Caribbean Sea, represented in the Maya writings 
by a sign similar to our numerical 8.' Diego de Cogolludo 
in his history of Yucatan informs us that up to a. d. 1517, 
when the Spaniards for the first time invaded that country, 
the land of the Mayas was stUl designated as "the great 
serpent " and " the tree." ^ 

The Maya colonists therefore called their new settlement 
on the banks of the Nile the " land of the- serpent " and also 
the "land of the tree." The Egyptian hierogram- 
matists represented their country as a serpent with 
inflated breast, standing on a figure 8, under which is 

a sieve, called Mayab in Maya ; some- 
times also as a serpent with inflated 
breast \ and wings, wearing a head- 
dress / V^ identical with that worn by 
some ^A\ of the magnates pictured in 
the bas-reliefs at ^^ * Chichen.^ They likewise symbol- 
ized Egypt as a ^1^ A tree ^ believed to be the Persea, 
sacred to the ^B^ ■ goddess Athor, whose fruit in the 
sculptures resembles a human heart,' which vividlj^ recalls 
the on of the Mayas, that bears the alligator pear — the 
Laurus persea of Linnaeus, so abundant in tropical America. 

Can it be that all these are mere coincidences ? If they be, 
then let us present more of them. 

The river, spread as it was over the land, they designated 
as Hapimil, which in aftertimes was corrupted into liapi- 

' Aug. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 130, et jiassim. 

^ Cogolludo, Hist, de Yucatlian, lib. i., cap. i. 

^ Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., p. 199. 

* Ihid., p. 200. 

» Ibid., p. 119. 


mau. It is a word composed of two Maya primitives — ha, 
"water," and pirn, "the thickness of flat surfaces; " hence 
the "thickness," the "depth of water." The desinence il is 
used as a suflix to nouns to denote usage, custom, or a thing 
having existed previously. This accords precisely with the 
signification given to the name Hapvmau of the Nile, by 
Egyptian scholars, the "abyss of water." 

Herodotus teUs us' that "anciently the whole of Egypt, 
with the exception of the nome of Thebes, was a marshy 

The name Thebes, of the capital of Upper Egypt, was 
Taba among the natives. That word seems to be allied to the 
Maya vocable tepal, "to govern," "to reign," which, as a 
noun, is equivalent to "majesty," "king," the "head of the 

As to Memphis, the capital of Lower Egj'pt, its sacred 
name, we are informed by M. Birch, was Ilahaptah, which is 
a word composed of two Maya vocables — lia, "water," and 
kaptali, past participle of the verb kaapal, "to place in a 
hole." The name of the city would then signify that it was 
huilt in a hole made hy water ; very appropriate indeed, since 
we are told that King Menes, the founder of Memphis, having 
diverted the course of the Nile, built the city in the bed of the 
ancient channel in which it flowed. 

The very name of King Menes may be a mere surname 
commemorative of his doings, since the Maya word men 
means "wise man," "legislator," "builder," "architect," 
every one of these epithets being applicable to him. 

Although the limits of this book allow but little space to 
adduce more proofs of the Maya origin of the names of places 

' Herodotus, lib. ii., iv. 


— which would be, after all, but cumulative evidence, for which 
the reader is referred to my larger work, " The Monuments of 
Mayach and their Historical Teachings " — I cannot resist the 
temptation to mention the name of the Governing Spirit of the 
universe, that of the Creator, and of the deities that represented 
His attributes to Egyptian minds; also giving the Maya ety- 
mology of these names. In order that it cannot be argued 
that they are mere coincidences, I will next present the tableau 
of creation as it still exists on the east facade of the palace at 
Chichen, where we have soon to return and pursue our study 
of the Memorial Hall dedicated to Prince Coh by his sister- 
wife Queen Moo. 

Chnoumis, or Noum, was said to be the " vivifying spirit," 
the "cause of life in animals," the "father of all that has 
life;"' therefore, the abundant source from which all things 
emanate. This is the exact meaning of the Maya particle 
num in composition with another word.^ Amen-num, or 
x-num, means the " architect," the " builder of all things " — 
a, contraction of ah, "the; " men, "architect," "builder," 
" wise man," " legislator;" num, or x-num, " multiplicity," 
' ' abundance of things. ' ' 

Kneph was another name for X-noum, who was also 

called Amen-Kneph. HorapoUo says: "The snake is the 

emblem of the spirit which pervades the universe." ^ So also 

we learn from Eusebius, who tells us that the Egyptians called 

Kneph the " good genius," and represented him under the 

shape of a serpent.'' In the ancient monuments the god 

' Eusebius, Prcep. et Demons. Evang., lib. iii., chap, xi., p. 315. Diodorus 
Siculus, Hist., lib. i. 13. 

' Pedro Beltran, Arte del Idioma Maya, 

^ Hoiapollo, Hieroglyphs, lib. ii. 

* Eusebius, Prmp., Evang., lib. iii., chap. xi. Vigiers, Paris, 1638. 


ATnen-Kneph is often depicted either preceded or followed 
by an enormous serpent that envelops him within its huge 
folds.' This is not the place to enter into speculations as 
to the reasons why the Egyptians selected the serpent as 
emblem of the deity. In another work I have explained the 
origin of serpent worship among the Mayas.' The name 
K-neph can be read Ka-nepli, that may be a dialectical pro- 
nunciation of the Maya word Canhel, which means a serpent, 
a dragon. Later on we will see the serpent accompanying the 
statue of the Creator, in the tableau of creation at Chiclien. 
Pthah was the name of another attribute of the Divine 
Spirit, a different form of the creative power, said to be sprung 
from an egg produced from the mouth of Kneph.' It there- 
fore corresponds to Brahma, the ancestor of all beings, in the 
Hindoo cosmogony,'' to Melien in that of the Mayas. 
Pthah, says lamblicus, was the artisan; the " Lord of Truth," 
according to Porphyry. In the Maya language Thaali 
means the "worker," the " artisan. "° In the Maya sculp- 
tures, particularly on the trunk of the mastodon heads 
that adorn the most ancient buildings, the name is written 
^S^ ^"Z^ Tza, " that which is necessary."^ 
^'^^ ><_>' Khem was the generative principle of nature, 
another attribute of the Creator. This god presided over gen- 
eration, not only of man and all species of animals, but of the 
vegetable world also. Mr. Samuel Birch affirms that his name 
has been variously read Xem or Miii. 

' Eusebius, Prmp., Evang., lib. iii., chap. xi. Vigiers, Paris, 1628. 
° Aug. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 100, et passim, particularly in 
MonuiTients of Mayach and their Historical Teachings, chap. iii. 
' HorapoUo, Hierogl., lib. i. 12. 
' Manava-Dhitrnui-SdMra, lib. i., chap, i., Sloka 9. 
' Pio Perez, ]>Iaya dictionary. Pedro Beltian, Arte Jd Idioma Maya. 
' Ibid. 


In the Maya language liem-ba is the organs of generation 
in animals, xex is the sperm of man, and iiain the "grand- 
mother on the father's side." * 

Naturally this query wiU present itself to the mind of the 
reader as it has to that of the author: Supposing Maya colo- 
nists, coming from the east, reached the valley of the JSTile, 
established themselves there, and developed that stupendous 
civilization of which Kenan says:^ "For when one thinks of 
this civilization, at least six thousand five hundred years old 
from the present day ; that it has had no known infancy ; that 
this art, of which there remain innumerable monuments, has no 
archaic period ; that the Egypt of Cheops and of Chephren is 
superior in a sense to all that followed — one is seized with 
giddiness. ' On estpris de vertige.'' " 

Although mistaken in asserting that Egyptian art had no 
archaic period, he is right, however, in saying that its birth- 
place was a mystery for Egyptologists; for, to quote Rawlin- 
son's own words, " In Egypt it is notorious that there is no 
indication of an early period of savagery or barbarism. . . . 
All authorities agree that, however far back we go, we find in 
Egypt no rude or uncivilized time out of Avhich civilization is 
developed."^ "The reasonable inference from these facts," 
says Osburn " (to our apprehension, we are free to confess, the 
only reasonable one), appears to be, that the first settlers in 
Egypt were a company of persons in a high state of civiliza- 
tion, but that through some strange anomaly in the history of 
man they had been deprived of a great part of the language 
and the entire written system which had formerly been the 

■ Pio Perez, Maya dictionary. Pedro Beltran, Art del Idiama Maya. 
'' Ernest Renan, Revue des deux, April, 1865. 
^ Rawlinson, Origin of Nations, p. 13. 


means and vehicle of their civilization. . . . Combin- 
ing this inference with the clear, unanswerable indications we 
have already pointed out, that the fathers of ancient Egypt 
first journeyed thither across the Isthmus of Suez, and that 
they brought with them the worship of the ' setting sun, ' how 
is it possible to resist the conclusion that they came thither 
from the plains of Babel, and that the civilization of Egypt 
was derived from the banks of the Euphrates? " ^ 

This so far is, or seems to be, perfectly true; but who were 
the emigrants ? Osburn does not tell us. What country did 
they come from when they reached the banks of the Euphrates 
and brought there civilization? They did not " drop from the 
unknown heavens," ^ as Seiss would have his readers to believe, 
although they came from Kui-land, the country of the gods 
in the west.' 

The Egyptians themselves claimed that their ancestors were 
strangers who, in very remote ages, settled on the banks of 
the Nile,^ bringing there, with the civilization of their mother 
country, the art of writing and a polished language ; that they 
had come from the direction of the setting sun,^ and that they 
were the " most ancient of men." ^ This expression Herodotus 
regarded as mere boasting. It is, however, easily explained if 
the Egyptians held Mayach, O "the land first emerged 
from the bosom of the deep," as the cradle of their race. 

This statement, that the Egyptians pointed to the west as 

' William Osburn, The Monumental History of Egypt, vol. i., chap, iv., 
pp. 320-321. 

" Seiss, A Miracle in Stone, p. 40. 

' Ku is tlie Maya and also the Egyptian for Divine Intelligence, God ; 
i is the mark of plural iu Egyptian and Quichfi. 

* Rawlinson, Origin of Nations, p. 13. 

° Diodorus, Hist., vol. i., p. 50. 

° Herodotus, Hist., lib. ii. 11. 


the point of the compass where the birthplace of their ancestors 
was situated, may seem a direct contradiction of the fact that 
the first Maya settlers in the vaUey of the Nile came from the 
banks of the Euphrates; that is, from the east. This seeming 
discrepancy is, however, easily explained by the other fact, that 
there were two distinct Maya migrations to Egypt. The 
second, the more important, coming from the West, direct from 
Mayacli, produced a more lasting impression on the memory 
of the people. 

We have followed step by step the Mayas in their jour- 
neys from their homes in the "Lands of the West" across 
the Pacific, along the shores of the Indian Ocean to the head 
of the Persian Gulf, then up the Euphrates — on the banks of 
which they formed settlements that in time became large and 
important cities — to Babylon. The migration of these Maya- 
speaking peoples from the eastern countries, across the Syrian 
desert, to Egypt took place centuries before the coming to 
that country of Queen Mdo with her retinue, direct from 
Mayach, across the Atlantic. Her followers, fresh from the 
" Lands of the West," naturally brought with them the man- 
ners and customs, traditions, religion, arts, and sciences of the 
mother country they had so recently abandoned. They were 
aped, and their ways readily adopted, by the descendants of the 
first Maya settlers, who had become more or less contaminated 
Avith the habits, superstitions, religious ideas, of the inhabitants 
of the various places where they had so long sojourned, or 
with whom they had been in contact. 

If, therefore, we wish to find the cradle of Egyptian civili- 
zation, where it had its infancy and developed from a state of 
barbarism, and why it appeared full grown on the banks of 
the Nile, we must seek westward whence it was transplanted. 


It is a well-known fact that history repeats itself. What hap- 
pened centuries ago in the valley of the Nile happens in our 
day. European civilization is now being transported full 
grown to the United States and other countries of the Western 
Continent. Ten thousand years hence, scholars speaking of 
the present Anaerican civilization may reecho Renan's words 
regarding the Egyptian: "It had no known infancy — no 
archaic period." 

We have seen that the Akkadians — that is, the primitive 
Chaldeans, who dwelt in places enclosed by palisades in the 
marshy lands at the mouth of the Euphrates — who brought 
civilization to Mesopotamia, possessed a perfect system of writ- 
ing; spoke a polished language akin to the Maya; had cos- 
mogonic notions identical with those of the Mayas, and 
expressed them by means of a diagram similar to, but more 
complex than, that found in Uxnial, Yucatan. 

We have also seen that the Maya-speaking peoples, whose 
tracks we have followed across the Syrian desert, and who 
settled in the valley of the Nile, brought there the art of writ- 
ing, a polished language, and the same cosmogonic notions 
entertained by the Chaldees, the Hindoos, and the 3Iayas ; 
that the names of the cities they founded, of the gods they 
worshipped, were also words belonging to the Maya language. 
In another work ' it has been shown that the Maya alphabet, 
discovered by the author, and the Egyptian hieratic alphabet 
were identical. Did the limits of this book allow, it could 
also be proved that the initial letter of the Maya names of the 
objects representing the letters of the Egyptian alphabet is 
the very letter so represented in said alphabet, and that several 
of these signs are contours of localities in the Maya Empire. 

' Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, Introduction, p. xii. 

Page 8S. 

Plait XXX. 




From these premises may it not be safely asserted, that, 
if the Mayas and the Egyptians did not teach one another 
the arts of civilization, they both learned them from the same 
masters, at the same schools? And if Professor Max Miiller's 
assertion be true, that particularly in the early history of the 
human intellect there existed the most intimate relationship 
between language, religion, and nationality,' then there can be 
no doubt that the Egyptians and the Mayas were branches 
of one mighty stem firmly 
rooted in the soil of the 
"Land of KuV in the 
"Western Continent. 

Should I give dates, 
according to the author of 
the Troano MS. and other 
Maya historians, many 
would doubt their accuracy 
and reply : How do we 
know that you have cor- 
rectly interpreted narra- 
tives — written in characters that none of the Americanists, 
who claim to be authorities on American palseography, can 
decipher ? It is well known that they cannot interpret with 
certainty half a dozen of the Maya signs, much less translate 
a whole sentence; and they assert that, if they, who have 
written whole volumes on the subject, do not understand these 
Maya writings, no one else can. 

For this reason I leave to Mr. Bunsen the care of determin- 
ing the dates, particidarly as those calculated by him, strange 

' Max Miiller, Science of Religion^ p. 53. 

^ Wilkinson, Manners and, Customs, vol. ii,, p. 198. 



as it may appear, correspond very nearly to those given by the 
ancient Maya writers. 

" The latest date at which the commencement of Egyptian 
life, the immigration from the Euphrates district,' can have 
taken place is 9580 b.c, or about 6000 before Menes. But the 
empire which Menes founded, or the chronological period of 
the Egyptians as a nation, down to the end of the reign of 
Nectanebo II., comprised, according to our historical computa- 
tions, very nearly thirty-three centuries. 

"In reality, there were disturbances, especially in those 
early times, which must be taken into account. We have cal- 
culated the lowest possible date to be six thousand years, or one 
hundred and eighty generations, before Menes. "Were this to 
be doubled, it would assuredly carry us too far. A much higher 
date, indeed twice that number of years, would certainly be 
more conceivable than a lower one, considering the vast amount 
of development and historical deposit which existed prior to 
Menes. It can be proved that but a few centuries after his 
time everything had become rigid not only in language but 
also in writing, which had grown up entirely on Egyptian soil, 
and which must be called the very latest link in that ancient 

"Now, if instead of six thousand years we reckon four 
thousand more, or about ten thousand years from the first im- 
migration down to Menes, the date of the Egyptian origines 
would be about 14000 b.c." ^ 

' Philostratus, in his Life of Apollonius of Tyana, a book written at the 
beginning of the Christian era, asserts (p. 146) that the first Egyptians were 
a colony from India. 

" Buuseu, EgypVs Place in Universal History, vol. iv., p. 58. 


"When, by their increasing numbers and their superior civil- 
ization, the descendants of the emigrants that came from the 
banks of the Euphrates had become the dominating power 
in the valley of the Nile, they sent colonists to the land of 
Kancrnn. These, following the coast of the Mediterranean, 
advanced as far north as Mount Taurus in Asia Minor ; and as 
they progressed they founded settlements, that in time became 
great and important cities, the sites of mighty nations whose 
history forms for us, at present, the ancient history of the 

The names of these cities and nations will be the unerring 
guide which wiU lead us on the road followed by these Maya- 
speaking colonists, that, starting from Egypt, carried their 
civilization along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, 
northward; then, eastward, back again to the banks of the 
Euphrates in Mesopotamia. 

On leaving Egypt they had to traverse the sandy desert 
that forms the Isthmus of Suez, and is the northern limit, the 
end, of the Sinai peninsula. "We have already said that the 


Mayas generally gave names to objects and places by onomat- 
opoeia; that is, according to sounds produced by these objects, 
or the ideas suggested by their most predominant character- 
istic. What, then, more natural than to call this stretch of 
desert Xul, " the end " ? — a word that became afterward >S^«r 
in the mouth of people using the letter R in their alphabet.' 

Advancing northward, they no doubt were struck by the 
fertility of the country, and therefore called it Kanaan. The 
etjmiology of this name is stm an unsolved puzzle for philolo- 
gists, who do not agree as to its meaning. Some say it means 
" lowlands; " others contend it signifies " merchants; " others, 
again, affirm that the name was given to the land by the Phoe- 
nicians, on account of the surprising productiveness of its soil. 
According to Maya the latter are right, since in that language 
Kanaan is the word for "abundance."" 

In after years, when the Phoenicians became such a mighty 
maritime power as to render them redoubtable to their neigh- 
bors, the Egyptians called Phoenicia Zahi,^ a Maya word 
the meaning of which ("full of menace," "to be feared") 
is certainly most expressive of their opinion of the might of 
the Tyrian merchant princes. Perhaps the treatment of the 
Bephahn,^ the aboriginal inhabitants, by the Phoenicians, who 
called them the "manes of the dead," and destroyed them 
when they took possession of their country, suggested the 
name. The Egyptians designated them as Sati ; * that is, 
zati (in Maya), the " lost," the " ruined " ones. 

' The Maya X is equivalent to the Greek x or the English sh. 

" Anciently there was a town iu Yucatan called Zahi, the ruins of which 
still exist a few miles to the southwest of those of the great city of Uxnial. 

' Genesis, chap, xiv., verse 5 ; xv. 20. 

* Chablas's translation of Les Papyrus Hieratiques de Berlin. (Chalons, 

Page 58. 

Plate XX. 


The word Rephaim is another enigma for philologists. 
They pretend, although they do not affirm it positively, that 
it means "giants."^ The Maya, however, tells us it simply 
signifies "inhabitants of the lowlands," which is the purport 
of the name Ccmacm, according to some philologists. Rephavm, 
seems to be composed of three Maya primitives — leb, ha, 
im — leb, to "cover;" ha, "water;" im, contraction of 
imix, "bosom," "basin;" therefore, literally, "the basin 
covered by water," hence the " lowlands." 

We read in the ethnic table of Genesis,' " Ccmacm begat 
Tsidon his firstborn," which means that Tzidon was prob- 
ably the earliest settlement founded by the Maya-speaking 
colonists from Egypt; when, according to the book of Na- 
bathoean agriculture, compiled in the early ages of the Chris- 
tian era, it seems that the Phoenicians were expelled from 
Babylon in consequence of a quarrel with the Cushite monarch 
then reigning — an event which probably occurred about the 
time of Abram, when a migration set in motion from the banks 
of the Euphrates to the shores of the Mediterranean. They 
had therefore been in close relation with the Ethiopians of the 
coast of the Erythraean Sea and the Chaldeans of Babjdonia. 
Then, even if they used also Maya words in giving names to 
the countries they conquered and the cities they founded, it 
could be easily accounted for; as also the similarity of their 
alphabetical characters with those carved on the walls of the 
temples and palaces of Mayach, where we see portraits of 
bearded men of unmistakable Phoenician types, discovered by 
the author in 1875. Tsidon^Rahhah is one of the epithets 
given in the Bible to the old capital of Phoenicia, and is trans- 

' Joshua, chap, xii., verse 4; chap, xiii., verse 13. 
' Genesis, chap, x., verse 15. 


lated " Zidon the great." The Maya, however, gives Tzidon 
the ancient.^ 

On the northern coast of Yucatan there is a seaport called 
to-day Zilan, near which are to be seen the extensive ruins of 
the ancient city of Oilan {DzilmC). Is it not possible that 
the founders of the seaport in Canaan gave it the name of 
Tzidon in remembrance of that of the seaport in Mayach, and 
that Tzidon is either a dialectical pronunciation or a corrup- 
tion of Dzilan ? 

The city that vied in importance with Tzidon, and at last 
obtained the supremacy, was Tzur, "the strong city,"^ the 
Tyrus of the Greeks and of the Latins. The philologists 
translate the name "rock," and historians aflSrm that the 
founder gave it to the city because it was built on a rocky 
island about half a mile from the shore. Tzub is the Maya 
for "promontory," and Tzucub is a "province." 

The principal god worshipped by the Phoenicians was 
the sun, under the name of Baal or Bel, which we are told 
meant "lord," " chief." This is exactly one of the meanings 
of the word Baal (in Maya).' As for Bel, it is in Maya the 
"road," the "origin." 

Astarte, or Ishtar, was the goddess of love of the Phoe- 
nicians, the Chaldeans, Assyrians, etc., as "Venus was of the 
Eomans, and Aphrodite of the Greeks. Her cult was cele- 
brated with great pomp in Babylon and in Nineveh. Her 
name in Maya would be Ixtal or Ixtac, a word composed of 
two Maya primitives — the feminine pronoun ix, " she," and 
the verb tal or tac, " to feel the desire to do something cor- 

' Itabbah would read in Maya Labal, 'the meaning of which is "to 
become old," " to age." 

« Joshua, chap, xix., verse 29. Jeremiali, chap, xxv., verse 23. 
" Jos6 de Acosta, Ilistm-ia Natural y Moral de las Indicis, 1590. 


poreal; " as, for instance, tac in uenel, " I want to sleep." 
Ixtal or Ixtac, or Ishtar, would therefore mean "she who 
wishes to satisfy a corporeal desire, inclination, or want." 
What name more appropriate for the goddess of love and lust ! 

Moloch was another god of the Phoenicians, to whom 
offerings of human victims were made by enclosing them 
alive in a bronze statue representing him. This being heated 
to red heat, the bodies were consumed,^ and were said, by the 
priests, to have served as food for the god who had devoured 

Moloeh is another descriptive name composed of two Maya 
primitives — niol, to gather, and och or ooch, food, provis- 
ions, provender. Do not these sacrifices to Moloch of human 
victims burned alive vividly recall those made by the Itzaes of 
Peten to Hobo the destroyer, in Avhich a human victim was 
burned alive amidst dances and songs ? ^ 

Neighbors to the Phoenicians, on the north, were the pow- 
erful Khati, who dwelt in the valley of the Orontes. Their 
origin is still a matter of speculation for ethnologists, and so 
is also their name for philologists. They made themselves 
famous on account of their terrible wars with the Assyrians 
and the Egyptians. Placed between these two nations, they 
opposed either, and proved tenacious and redoubtable adversa- 
ries to both. All historians agree that the Khati, up to the 
time when they were vanquished by Eameses the Great, always 
placed obstacles in the way of conquest by these nations, and 
at all times sallied forth in battle array to meet them and 
prevent their passage through their territories. Was it from 

' Leviticus, cliap. xviii., verse 21. 

= John Kcnriclc, Phomicla, p. 317. Gustave Flaubert, Salatnbo, chap, 
xiii. Moloch the Devourer, Diodorus Siculus, lib. xx., cap. 14. 

'CogoUudo, Hist, de Yucathan, lib. ix., cap. 14. 


that fact that they were called Khati ? Any Maya scholar 
will answer, No doubt of it ; since kat is a Maya verb mean- 
ing " to place obstacles across a road " or " to sally forth to 
impede the passage of a road " > — a name most in accordance 
with the customs of that warlike nation. 

The Khati were not warriors only; they were likewise mer- 
chants, whose capital, Carchemish, situated at the confluence 
of the river Chebar and the Euphrates, vied in commercial 
importance with Tyre and Carthage. There met traders from 
India and other countries. 

Ca/rchemish, the great emporium, was, as its name indi- 
cates, the place where navigators and merchants from afar 
congregated. This name is composed of two Maya vocables — 
cah, "city," and cheiuul, "navigator." Carchemish may 
well be a dialectical pronunciation of Cahcheniul, the 
" port," the " place of navigators," hence of merchants. 

Katish was the sacred city of the Khati, where they 
were wont to worship in a temple dedicated to Set, or Sut, 
their principal god. Set was the brother of Osiris, and his 
murderer. His name is a cognate word of ze (Maya), "to 
ill-treat with blows." In that place sacrifices were offered, 
and religious ceremonies particularly performed, as its name 
indicates. We have just said that cah is the Maya for " city " 
or "village." Tich is a peculiar ceremony practised by the 
Mayas from the remotest antiquity, and stiU observed by their 
descendants. It consists in making offerings, called u-kanil- 
col, "the crop is ripe," to the Yviinil Kaax, the "lord of 
the fields," of the primitice of all crops before beginning the 
harvest. In another work^ I have described the ceremony. 

' Pedro Beltran, Arte del Idioma Maya. Pio Perez, ]>Iiiya dictionary. 
° A. Le Plongeon, Monument) of Mayach, etc. 

Page 6S. 

Plate XXI. 


Cahtich, or Katish, is therefore an appropriate name for a 
sacred city where religious ceremonies are performed and offer- 
ings made to the gods. 

The whole coast of Asia Minor on the Mediterranean was 
once inhabited by nations having their homonyms in the 
Western Continent. Prominent among these were the Cari- 
ans, of unknown origin, but wide-spread fame. Herodotus,^ 
himself a Carian, says that the ancient Carians called themselves 
ZeZ«^es, a name akin to Leleth (Maya), "to dwell in rocky 
places." "Well, Strabo^ teUs us they had been the occupants 
of all Ionia and of the islands of the J]]gean Sea, until driven 
from them by the lonians and the Dorians, when they estab- 
lished themselves on the mainland. Thucydides calls them 
pirates, and asserts that King Minos expeUed them from the 
Cyclades.^ Herodotus, bound to defend his countrymen from 
such an imputation, simply represents them as a warlike and 
seafaring people that, when requested, manned the ships of 
Minos. At that time they styled themselves " the most famous 
of aU nations of the earth." * The dress of the Carian women 
consisted of a linen tunic which required no fastenings.^ From 
all antiquity this tunic was used by the Maya women, and is 
still by the aborigines of Yucatan, Peten, and other places in 
Central America. It is called uipil. 

The name Kar, or Carian, certainly is identical with that 

of the warlike nation the Caras, whose name is still preserved 

in that of the Caribbean Sea, and of many cities and places in 

the northern parts of the South American continent, the 

■ Herodotus, lib. i., 171. 

' Strabo, lib. vii., p. 321 ; lib. xiii., p. 611. 

' Thucydides, History of tlie Peloponnesian War, lib. i., 8. 

* Herodotus, lib. i., 171. 

'Ibid., lib. v., 87-88. 


Antilles, and the coast of Honduras, where Carib tribes still 
exist. These Ca/ras, once neighbors of the Mayas, extended 
their conquests from the frontiers of Mayach throughout the 
southern continent; to the river Plata, east of the Andes; 
to Chile, west of that chain of mountains. It would indeed 
be very difficult to explain the striking similarity of abo- 
riginal names of pleices and tribes still used in the countries 
known to-day as Venezuela and Colombia, and those of locali- 
ties on the shores of the Mediterranean, and of the people who 
dwelt in them, except through the intimate relationship of the 
Carians of Asia Minor and the Caras of the " Lands of the 
"West." Their names are not only similar, but, on both sides 
of the Atlantic, were synonymous of "man," par excellence, 
of "eminent warrior," endowed with great dexterity and 
extraordinary power.' When the Spaniards landed for the 
first time in America, the Caribs of the islands of St. Vin- 
cent and Martinique were cannibals, and the terror of their 

Lastly, according to Max Miiller,^ Philip of Theangela, a 
Carian historian, says that the idiom of the Carians was mixed 
with a great number of Greek words. But Homer represents 
them among the earliest inhabitants of Asia Minor and of 
the Grecian peninsula,^ anterior, consequently, to the Hellenes, 
who in their intercourse with them would naturally have made 
use of many words of their language that afterward became 
engrafted on that of the Greeks themselves. 

For the present we shall depart from the eastern shores of 

' Rochefort, Histoire Naturelle et Morale des Antilles, p. 401. D'Orbigny, 
Vllomme Americatn, vol. ii., p. 268. Alcedo, Diccionario Oeografico e Histo- 
rico de las Indias Occidentales. 

' Max Miillcr, Fragments, Hist. Orac, vol. iv., p. 475. 

' Homer, Iliad, X., 428-429. 

Page 64. 

Plate XXII. 


the Mediterranean and from Egypt, which we shall revisit later 
on. Before returning to Mayach let us again ask, This per- 
fect identity of Maya, Hindoo, Chaldean, and Egyptian 
cosmogonic notions ; these Maya words that form the names 
of places, nations, and gods, descriptive of their attributes or 
characteristics, in India, Chaldea, Phoenicia, and Egypt — are 
they mere coincidences ? 


In our journey westward across the Atlantic we shall pass 
in sight of that spot where once existed the pride and life of 
the ocean, the Land of Mu, which, at the epoch that we have 
been considering, had not yet been visited by the wrath of 
Homen, that lord of volcanic fires to whose fury it afterward 
fell a victim. The description of that land given to Solon by 
Sonchis, priest at Sais ; its destruction by earthquakes, and sub- 
mergence, recorded by Plato in his " Timseus," have been told 
and retold so many times that it is useless to encumber these 
pages with a repetition of it. I shall therefore content myself 
with mentioning that the ten provinces which formed the 
country,^ that Plato says Kronos divided among his ten sons,' 
were thickly populated, and that the black race seems to have 
predominated. We shall not tarry in Ziiiaau, " the scor- 
pion," longer than to inquire if, perchance, the Egyptian god- 
dess Selk, whose title was "the great reptile," directress of 
the hooks, whose office was principally in the regions of the 

' Troano MS., part ii., plate v. 
' Plato, Timcms. 



Amenti — that is, in the " Lands of the "West " — where she was 
employed in noting on the palm, branch of Thoth the years 
of human -life, was not a deification of the jtio^ 
West Indies of our day. 

Selk was also called the lady of letters, 
from which she appears to have been the goddess 
of writing y ^ and her emblem was placed over 
the doors of libraries, as the keeper of iooks. 

"What connection could possibly have existed, 
in the mind of Egyptian wise men, between a 
scorpion, the letters of the alphabet, and the 
art of writing, Egyptologists do not inform us. 
Still they did nothing concerning their sym- 
bols and their deities without a motive. In 
thus making Selk the goddess of writing, and 
symbolizing her as a scorpion, did they intend to indicate that 
the art of writing and knowledge of the books came to 
them from the " Lands of the "West," and take the shape of 
the West Indies as emblem of said lands ? 

This suggestion seems plausible if we consider that they 
figured the land of PseV as a scorpion, and that, from the 
general contour of the group of islands known to us as the 
West Indies, the Mayas called them Zinaan, the " scor- 
pion."' But Zinaan means also an "accent," a "mark in 
writing." (See Plate V.) 

As to the name Selk, it may have been suggested by the 
color of the black ink used in writing, or by the name of the 
large black scorpion quite abundant in Central America. Eek 


' Wilkinson, Manners aiid Customs, vol. iii., chap. xiii. 

''Hid., p. 169 (note). Cliiimpollion 2e j«Mn«, Pantheon, plate xv. 

' Ubi supra. Introduction, pp. xli-lx. 


means " black" in Maya. If to designate the name of a god- 
dess we prefix the word with the feminine article X (English 
sh), we have X-Eek, that may easily become Sellc. Ekchucli 
is the name of the black scorpion. X-Ekchuch would be that 
of the female black scorpion. From it the name of the Egyp- 
tian goddess of writing and the connection of the scorpion with 
letters may easily be derived. 

From Zinaan we set sail for the nearest seaport in 
Mayacli. It is Tulum, a fortified place, as the name in- 
dicates, situated in lat. N. 20° 11' 60" and long. W. 87° 26' 55" 
from Greenwich. Its ruins, seen from afar, serve yet as a land- 
mark to mariners navigating the waters of the eastern coast of 
the peninsula of Yucatan. 

Proceeding thence inland, in a direction west eight de- 
grees north, one hundred and twenty miles as the crow flies, 
we reach the city of Chicllen Avhence we started on our 
voyage of circumnavigation. 

Page 69. 

Plate XXIII. 


It is well that we now return with a knowledge of the 
myths of the Hindoos and the Egyptians regarding creation. 
We shall need them to comprehend the meaning of the tableau 
over the doorway of the east facade of the palace. Many 
have looked at it since, toward the beginning of the Christian 
era, the wise Itzaes abandoned the city when it was sacked and 
devastated by barbaric N"ahuatl tribes coming from the south. 
How many have understood its meaning, and the teaching it 
embodies?^ Very few, indeed; otherwise they would have 
respected instead of defacing it. 

Among the modern Americanists and professors of Ameri- 
can archseology, even those who pretend to be authorities as to 
things pertaining to the ancient Mayas and their civilization, 
how many are there who understand and can explain the 

' In order to thoroughly apprehend the full meaning of this most inter- 
esting cosmic relation, it is necessary to be versed in occultism, even as 
taught by the Brahmins and other wise men of India. Occultists will not 
fail to comprehend the teaching conveyed in this sculpture, which teaching 
proves that, in very remote ages, the Maya sages had intimate couimuui- 
cations with those of India and other civilized countries. 


lessons that the Maya philosophers in remote ages have in- 
trusted to stone in this tableau, for the benefit and instruction 
of the generations that were to follow after them ? 

No one has ever ventured an explanation of it. And yet it 
contains no mystery. Its teaching is easily read ; the explana- 
tory legends being written in Egyptian characters, that, how- 
ever, are likewise Maya. 

If we ask the Brahmins to explain it, they will tell us: 
At the beginning of the first chapter of the " Manava-Dharma- 
Sastra " — a book compiled, according to Mr. Chezy,^ from very 
ancient works of the Brahmins, about thirteen hundred years 
before the Christian era — we read: " The Supreme Spirit fuming 
resolved to cause to come forth from its own corporeal substance 
the divers creatures, first produced the waters, and in them de- 
posited a productive seed. This germ hecame an egg, hriUiant as 
gold, resplendent as a star with thousands of rays / and in this 
egg was reproduced the Supreme Being, under the form of 
Brahma, the ancestor of all heings. ' ' ^ 

An analysis of the tableau shows this quotation from the 
Brahministic book to be an explanation of it, although not 
quite complete. But we find the balance of the description in 
Eusebius's "Evangelical Preparations." 

We are told that the Supreme Intelligence first produced 
the waters. The watery element is represented in the sculp- 
tures in Mayacli, Egypt, Babylonia, India, etc. , by superposed 
wavy or broken lines ^i^^^^^^. These lines form the rim, 
or frame, of the tableau, surrounding it nearly, as the water 
encircles the land: It is well to notice that the upper line 
of water is opened in the middle, and that each part ter- 

' Chfizy, Journal des Savants, 1831 ; also H. T. Colebrooke. 
' Manava-Dharma-Sastra, lib. i., Slokas 8-9. 


minates in a serpent head; also, that the distance between 
said serpent heads is two-fifths of the whole hne. Is this with- 
out significance ? Certainly not. Everything has its meaning 
in the Maya sculptures. Did the learned men of Mayach 
know that the waters cover about three-fifths of the earth, 
the land only two-fifths ? And why not ? Do we not know 
it? "Were not their people navigators? It may be asked. 
What is the meaning of the serpent heads at the extremity of 
the lines, symbol of water? Are they merely ornamental? 
By no means. They indicate that said lines represent the 
ocean, kanali in Maya, the "great, the mighty serpent;" 
image, among the Mayas, Quiches, and other tribes aUied to 
them, as among the Egyptians, of the Creator, whose emblem 
(says HorapoUo) was a serpent of a blue color with yellow 
scales. Can, we know, means "serpent," but kan is Maya 
for "yellow." Kanali, the ocean, might therefore be inter- 
preted metaphorically "the powerful yellow serpent."' We 
read in the ' ' Popol- Yuh, ' ' sacred book of the Quiches, regarding 
Gucicmatz, the principle of all things, manifesting at the dawn 
of creation: ^ " All was immobility and silence in the darkness, 
in the night; only the Creator, the Maker, the Dominator, 
the Serpent covered with feathers, they who engender, they 
who create, were on the waters as an ever-increasing light. 
They are surrounded by green and azure; their name is Grucu- 
matz." Compare this conception of chaos and the dawn of 
creation among the Quiches, with that of the Hindoos as we 
read of it in the " Aitareya-A'ran'ya: " ^ " Originally this uni- 
verse was only a soul. Nothing active or inactive existed. The 

' See Appendix, note vii,, p. 186. 
' Popol-Vuh, lib. i., chap. i. 

' H. T. Colebrooke, Notice on the Sacred Books of the Hindoos, Aitareya- 
A'ran'ya, lib. ii., g iv. 


thought came to Him, I wish to create worlds. And so He 
created these worlds, the water, the light, the mortal beings, 
and the waters. That water is the region above; the sky that 
supports it; the atmosphere that contains the light; the earth 
that is perishable; and the lower regions that of the waters." 

On the first of the tablets inscribed with the cosmogony of 
the Chaldeans, found in the Library of the palace of King 
Assurbanipal, at Nineveh, we read the following lines, trans- 
lated by the late Mr. George Smith: " At a time when neither 
the heavens above nor the earth below existed, there was the 
watery abyss; the first of seed, the mistress of the depths, 
the mother of the universe. The waters clung together (cov- 
ered everything). No product had ever been gathered, nor 
was any sprout seen. Ay, the very gods had not yet come 
into being." . . . On the third tablet it is related how 
' ' the gods are preparing for a grand contest against a monster 
known as Tidmat, ' the depths,' and how the god BeJ- 
Marduk overthrows Tidmat. ' ' 

My readers wiU forgive me for indulging here in a short 
digression that may seem unnecessary, but it is well to add to 
the proofs already adduced to show that, at some remote epoch, 
the primitive Chaldeans must have had intimate relations with 
Maya colonists; and that these were a great factor in the 
development of the civilization of the Babylonians, to whom 
they seem to have imparted their religious and cosmogonic 
notions. The names Tidmat and JBel-Marduh add corrobora- 
tive evidence to confirm this historical truth, since no language 
except the Maya ofl^ers such a natural etjnnon and simple 
explanation of their meaning. 

Tidinut, "the depths," is a Maya word composed of the 
four primitives, ti, ha, ma, ti (that is, ti, "there;" ha, 


"water;" ma, "without;" ti, "land"), Tihamati ; by 

elision, Tihamat, or be it Tidmat, "everywhere water, no- 
where land," the "deep." 

As to the name Bel-MarduTc (in Maya) it would read Bel- 
Maltuuc ; that is, Bel, "occupation," "business;" mal is 
a particle that, united to a noun, indicates " the act of multi- 
plying," of "doing many things;" tuucul is a "mass of 
things placed in order." Bel-Maltuvic or 'KfA.-Marduk 
would be a most appropriate name for one whose business 
seems to have been to put in order all the things that existed 
confusedly in chaos. 

Mr. Morris Jastrow, Jr., in an article in the Century 
Magazine for January, 1894,' says that the word tehom occurs 
both in the cuneiform tablets and in Genesis with the mean- 
ing of " the deep," which is precisely its import in the Maya 
language — te or ti, ' ' where ; ' ' hoiii, ' ' abyss without bottom. ' ' 

E-eturning to the comparison of the cosmogonic notions of 
the various civilized nations of antiquity, we find that Thales, like 
all the ancient philosophers, regarded water as the primordial 
substance, in the midst of which the " Great Soul" deposited 
a germ that became an egg, briUiant as gold and resplendent 
as a star with a thousand rays, as we read in the first book 
of the " Manava-Dharma-Sastra, " and we see represented in 
the tableau over the door of the east fa9ade of the palace at 
Chicllen. (Plate XXIII.) In this egg was reproduced the 
Supreme Being under the form of Brahma, through whose 
union with the goddess Maya, the good mother of aU gods and 
other beings, all things were created, says the " Eig-veda. " ^ 

' Morris Jastrow, Jr., "The Bible and the Assyrian Monuments," New 
York, Century Magazine., January, 1894. 

'^ Eig-veda, Langlois' translation, sect, vili., lect. 3, h. ii., v. i., vol. iv. 
pp. 316-317. 


The inhabitants of the islands of the Pacific entertained 
similar notions regarding creation. Ellis in his "Polynesian 
Researches " says: ' " In the Sandwich Islands there is a tradi- 
tion that in the beginning there was nothing but water, when 
a big bird descended from on high and laid an egg in the sea. 
That egg burst, and Hawaii came forth." They believe that 
the bird is an emblem of deity ; a medium through which the 
gods often communicate with men. 

It is well not to forget that the Egyptians also caused Ptah, 
the Creator, to be born from an egg issued from the mouth of 
Kneph, the ruling spirit of the universe, whose emblem was an 
enormous blue serpent with yellow scales; that is, the ocean. 

The learned men of Mayach always described with ap- 
propriate inscriptions the notions, cosmogonic or others, or 
the religious conceptions that they portrayed in the sculptures ; 
ornamenting with them the walls of their public edifices, not 
only to generalize them among their contemporaries, but to 
transmit them to future generations in a lasting manner. They 
did not fail to ■— ^ do it in this instance. 

The legend <. on either side of the egg teUs who is 

the personage 1^3 seated therein. It is composed of the 

characters ^ four times repeated, for the symmetry of the 

drawing, '— — ^ and to emphasize the meaning of the word, 
as well as to indicate the exalted quality of said personage. 
ChampoUion le jeune tells us that in Egj^Dt this very combi- 
nation of letters means " the engendered. " ^ These letters em- 
phatically belong to the alphabet of the Mayas. The sign 
/~~~ , or be it, N that stands for our Latin 21, represented 

' Ellis, Polynesian Researches, vol. i., chap, v., p. 100. 
' ChampoUion le jeune, Precis du Systeme Hieroglyphique des Aiiciens 


the contour of the peninsula of Yucatan. It is pronounced ma 
in Egyptian as in Maya, and means, in both languages, ' ' place, ' ' 
"land." Why this sign, with that meaning, in Egypt? 
Can learned Egyptologists tell ? In Mayacli it is the radical 
ma of the name of the country ; it is a contraction of mam, 
the "ancestor," the "earth." The sign I — i , so frequent in 
all the ancient edifices of the Mayas, is the letter correspond- 
ing to our Latin H, with these and the Egyptians. If to these 
characters we add the letter /VVAAA/\ N, forming the border, 
we have the word / | — i AAAA/v\ mehen, which in Maya 
means, as in Egyptian, the " son," the " engendered." ' But 
mehen was the name of the serpent represented over the head 
of the god Kneph, the creator. According to Mr. Samuel Birch, 
said serpent was termed in Egyptian texts "proceeding from 
what is in the abyss." In the egg, behind the engendered, the 
scales of the serpent's belly form a background to the figure. 
To complete the explanation of the tableau we must ask 
Eusebius's help. In his " Evangelical Preparations " - he tells 
us that the Egyptians " represented the Creator of the world, 
whom they called Knejph, under a human form, with the flesh 
painted blue, a belt surrounding his waist, holding a sceptre in 
his hand, his head being adorned with a royal headdress orna- 
mented with a plume. " Were I to describe minutel}^ the figure 
within the Qgg, I could not do it better. Although much 
mutilated by iconoclasts, it is easy to perceive that once it 
was painted blue, to indicate his exalted and holy character ; 
around the waist he wears a puyvit, or loin cloth, and his head 
is stiU adorned with a huge plume, worn among the Mayas 
by personages of high rank. 

' Pedro Beltran, Arte del Idioma Maya. Pio Perez, Maya dictionary. 
'^ Eusebius, Prmp. Evang., lib. iii., p. 315. 


Lastly, it is well to notice that there are forty-two rays 
around the cosmic egg. Those versed in the knowledge of the 
Kabbalah wiU say that the number of the rays, twenty-one, 
placed on each side of the egg, was not used arbitrarily, but 
as an emblem of the Creator, Jehovah ; that, if we consider 
the numerical value of the Hebrew letters composing it, his 
name in numbers will read Jod, 10 ; He, 6 ; and Vav, 5 ; that 
is, 10, 6, 5,' the sum of which is 21 = 3 x 7, the trinity and the 

The rabbis, says J. Ealston Skinner,' extol these numbers 
so beyond all others, that they pretend " that by their uses 
and permutations, under the cabalistic law of T^mura — that is, 
of permutation — the knowledge of the entire universe may be 

The number of the assessors who, according to the Egyp- 
tians, assisted Osiris, when sitting in judgment upon the souls 
in Amenti, was, it will be remembered, 42 ; that is, 21 x 2. But 
these twenty-one rays on each side of the cosmic egg also call 

' The reader's attention is liere called to the following interesting facts 
■which show the origin of the British foot-measure of diaiension. The half 
of 1056 is 528. This number multiplied by 10 gives 5280, the length in feet 
of the British mile. By permutation 528 becomes 825. But 8.25 feet is the 
length of half a rod, whilst 5280 x 8.35 feet is the area in feet of one acre. 

In the drawing of their plans the builders of the great pyramid of Egypt 
and those of the pyramids of Mayacll made use of these numbers. AH 
the most ancient pyramids in Yucatan are twenty-one metres high, the side 
of the base being forty-two metres. Tlieir vertical section was conse- 
quently drawn so as to be inscribed within the circumference of a circle 
having a radius of twenty-one metres, whose diameter formed the base line 
of the monument. 

' J. Ralston Skinner, " Hebrew Metrology," p. 6, Masonic Review, July, 
1885. "For the ratio 113 to 355 multiplied by 3 equals 339 to 1065. The 
entire circumference will be 1065 x 2 = 2130, of which 213 is factor with 10. 
And 213 is the first word of Genesis; viz., Rash, or 'head,' from whence 
the entire book." 

Page 77. 

Plate XXIV. 


to mind the twentj-oiLQ prajapati, or creators, mentioned in the 
"Mahabharata; " and the twenty-one words constituting the 
most sacred prayer of the followers of Zoroaster, still in use 
by the Parsis. 

On each side of the Creator, outside of the lower line of 
the border of the tableau, is the figure of a monkey in a sit- 
ting posture and in the act of adoration. We learn from the 
" Popol-Vuh " that in his attempts to produce & perfect man, an 
intellectual creature, the Creator failed repeatedly, and each 
time, disgusted with his work, he destroyed the results of his 
early experiments; that at last he succeeded in making a 
human being nearly perfect, but yet wanting. This primitive 
race of man having grown proud and wicked, forgetful of their 
Creator, to whom they ceased to pay due homage, the majority 
of them were destroyed by floods and earthquakes. The few 
that escaped by taking refuge on the mountains were changed 
into monkeys.^ This is perhaps the reason why simians were 
held in great veneration by the Mayas. (Plate XXIY.) 

It is indeed worthy of notice, although it may be a mere 
coincidence, that, wherever Maya civilization has penetrated, 
there also ape worship has existed from the remotest antiquity, 
and does still exist where ancient religious rites and customs 
are observed. 

In Hindostan, some nations hold the same belief concerning 
monkeys that we read of in the sacred book of the Quiches, 
to wit: " That formerly men were changed into apes as a pun- 
ishment for their iniquities." The ape god Ilanuman, who 
rendered such valuable assistance to Rama in the recovery of his 
wife Sita when she was abducted by Eavana^^ is stiU held in 

' Popol-Vuh, Brasseur translation, part i., chap, iii., p. 31. 
' Valmiki, Eamayana, part i., p. 343, et passim. French translation by 
Hippolyto Fauchfi. 


great veneration in the Asiatic peninsula and the island of Cey- 
lon. Pompous homage is paid to him. The pagodas in which 
he is worshipped are adorned with the utmost magnificence. 
When in 1554 the Portuguese made a descent upon that island, 
they plundered the temple of the ape god Thoth, and made 
themselves masters of immense riches. I beg to call the atten- 
tion of the reader to the name of this ape god, for whose ran- 
som an Indian prince offered the viceroy of G-oa seven hundred 
thousand ducats. It was likemse that of the "god of letters 
and wisdom," represented as a cynocephalus monkey, among 
the Egyptians. Is this also a coincidence ? The Maya word 
Thoth means to "scatter" flowers or grain. Might it not 
mean, metaphorically, to scatter letters — knowledge ? As sym- 
bol of the "god of letters " the cynocephalus ape was treated 
with great respect in many cities of Egypt; but at Hermopolis 
it was particularly worshipped,^ whilst in the Necropolis of 
Thebes a spot was reserved as cemetery for the sacred mon- 
keys, whose mummies were always placed in a sitting posture, 
as the bodies of deceased persons in Mayach, Peru, and manj" 
other countries in the Western Continent. 

In the ancient city of Gopan, in Guatemala, the cynoceph- 
alus was frequently represented in the sculptures of the tem- 
ples, in an attitude of prayer. There, as at Thebes, those 
monkeys were buried in stone tombs, in which their skeletons 
have been found in perfect preservation. 

Fray Geronimo Poman, a Avi'iter of the sixteenth century,-^ 
and other chroniclers, inform us that monkeys received divine 
worship in Yucatan under the names of Baat) and Chueii, 

' Strabo, XVII., p. 559. 

^ Fray Geronimo Roman, Uepuhlica de las Indias Occidentalea, lib. ii., 
cap. XV. 


Avhose images are often found in the temples of the Mayas, in 
a kneeling posture (as in Plate XXIV.). 

The ape was also held sacred in Babylonia. In Japan there 
is a sumptuous temple dedicated to monkey worship. It is 
said that the Japanese believe that the bodies of apes are in- 
habited by the souls of deceased grandees and princes of the 
empire. Is not this great veneration for monkeys a form of 
ancestor worship ? The Darwinian theory of evolution does 
not seem to be so very modern, after all. The study of the first 
chapters of the " Popol-Yuh " will convince any one that some 
of the ancient Maya scientists had reached the same conclusions 
as some of the learned philosophers of our day regarding the 
unfolding of animated beings — of man, consequently. It would 
seem that Solomon had some reason in saying, and that we 
may repeat after him, "There is nothing new under the 
sun." ^ 

There are many other interesting facts to be learned from 
the study of the sculptures that embellish the eastern facade 
of the palace at Chichen. But as they have no direct bear- 
ing on the object of our present investigation, we shall turn 
away from that edifice, and, taking a northern direction, in- 
dulge in an agreeable walk of half a mile, under secular trees, 
through the forest, to return to Prince Coil's memorial hall, 
whence we started ; for we have yet to glean much information 
from its contents. 

During our promenade, protected from the fiery rays of the 
tropical sun by the thick foliage overhead, enjoying the delight- 
ful coolness that perpetually prevails in the Yucatan forests, 
we let our thoughts wander. But they naturally revert to the 
tableau of creation and the strange facts it has revealed to us, 
' Ecclesiastes, cliapter i., verse 9. 


and we ask ourselves: Did the Mayas receive all these teach- 
ings from the Egyptians, or the Chaldeans, or the Hindoos, as 
some want us to believe? If so, when and how? Or did 
Maya missionaries, abandoning their country as apostles of 
religion, civilization, and science, carry their knowledge among 
these various nations and impart it to them ? 

Page 81. 

Plate XXV. 


The study of the atlantes that supported the table of the 
altar at the entrance of the funeral chamber is most interest- 
ing. In these, and in the portraits of personages carved on the 
pillars and antse of the portico and the jambs of the doorway, 
the ethnologist can study the features of the ancient Mayas, 
and, perhaps, discover the race to which they belonged. What- 
ever this may have been, one fact is evident — the Mayas did 
not deform their skulls artificially, as did the inhabitants of 
Copan and Palenque. These, therefore, were not Mayas. 
Their mode of writing was not Maya; their language was 
most probably different from the Maya ; consequently it is 
absurd to try to interpret the inscriptions left by them, as the 
late Professor Charles Eau,^ of the Smithsonian Institution, 
Mess. Hyacinthe de Charancey' and Leon de Eosny, in 
France,' and others, have done. Being unable to read one 

' Charles Rau, Tablet of Palenque, chap. v. Aboriginal Writings of Mex- 
ico, Yucatan, and Central America. Smithsonian Institution's publications. 

' Hyacinthe de Charencey, Easai de Dechiffrement afun Vragment d' Inscrip- 
tion Palenquenne, torn. 1, No. 3, Mars, 187G. Actes de la Societe Philologique, 
p. 56. 

^ L(3on de Rosny, Essai sur le Dechiffrement de VJ&criture Hieratique de 
VAmerique Gentrale, p. 13. 


single sentence of those inscriptions, how can these gentlemen 
assert that they are written in the Maya language ? Because 
a few characters resemble the Maya ? What does that prove ? 
English, French, Spanish, Italian, and other modern languages 
are all written with Latin letters : does that mean that they are 
one and the same ? 

It is not easy to surmise what common relationship can 
possibly be claimed to have existed between the squat-figured, 
coarse-featured, large-nosed, thick-lipped, flat-headed people, 
with bulging eyes, represented in the stucco bas-reliefs of 
Palenque, whose "heads, so very unusual, not to say unnat- 
ural," have been compared with those of the Huns;^ or the 
short-statured individuals Avith round heads, oval faces, high 
cheek bones, flat noses, large gaping mouths, small oblique 
ej'es, portrayed on the obelisks of Copan and Quirigua, that 
recall the Tartar or Manchu type (Plate XXX. ) ; and the good- 
looking Mayas, whose regular features, lithe figures with 
well-proportioned limbs, finely formed heads, high foreheads, 
shapely noses, small mouths with firm thin lips, eyes open, 
straight, and intelligent, that we see pictured in fresco paint- 
ings or sculptured in low and high reliefs and statues. (Plates 

JSTo one, surely, will pi'esume to maintain that they belong 
to the same family or race, and that the difference in their 
appearance is due to unknown causes that have effected such re- 
markable changes at various periods of tlieir national existence. 

' William Burckhardt Barker, Lares and Penates, or Cilicia and its Gov- 
ernors, chap. iv. Plate XXIX. 

See Appendix, note viii. 

John Ranking, Historical Researches on the Conquest of Peru, Mexico, etc., 
p. 275. According to tiiis author the builders of Palenque were Mongols. 
(A. L. P.) 

Page S2. 

Plate XXVI. 






. /f ' 

f f 

pa!*;"" - ,. "^i ^ 

' / 


Page. 82. 

Plate XXVI I. 



To-day all the distinct peculiarities of these various peoples 
are, to the eye of the careful observer, quite as noticeable, 
among their descendants, as of yore, notwithstanding the inter- 
marriages that have inevitably occurred between the different 
races, particularly since the Spanish conquest. 

Again, the atlantes and the bas-reliefs on the pillars show 
the mode of dress in vogue among the higher classes of the 

Standard-liearer. Mode of carrying shield among the Mayas. 


Mayas in remote ages, the ornaments they wore, and many 
of their customs, whose identity with those of far-distant 
nations cannot be ascribed to mere coincidence. These may 
also guide the ethnologist. 

For the present purpose, it will suffice to mention various 
practices observed at funerals both by the Mayas and the 
Egyptians. Among the figures that supported the table of the 

' See the various jilates from the fresco paintings in Prince Coil's Memo- 
rial Hall at Cliicheii (Plates XXXIX. -LI.). 


altar, there were some intended to represent women. From 
these we learn that Maya matrons, to betoken grief, covered 
the right side of their face with their hair. Sir Gardner 
"Wilkinson,* speaking of the funeral customs of the Egyptians, 
says: " Married women alone were permitted to wear the ma- 
gasies, or ringlets, at the side of the face. The hair was bound 
at the end with a string, like the plaits at the back of the 
head, so as to cover part of their ear-ring." 

Macrobius,' trying to explain this custom of Egyptian 
matrons, says it was in imitation of the images of the sun, in 
which that luminary was represented as a human head having 
a lock of hair on the right side of the face. This lock, he 
assumes, was emblematic of its reappearance after being con- 
cealed from our sight at its setting, or of its return to the 

What explanation would he have given of the same custom 
being observed among the Mayas, had he known of it ? That 
it existed there can be no doubt; the portraits of the two 
Maya matrons found among the atlantes of the altar are the 
best proof of it. (See Plates XXXI.-XXXII., which are 
photographs of them.) 

The practice of tying their dress round their waist and of 
uncovering their breast when a friend died ^ was common both 
to the Mayas * and the Egyptians. The dead in Egjqjt were 
made to carry round their neck the vase, placed on the scale of 

' Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, etc., vol. iii., chap, xvi., 
p. 453 ; also vol. i., chap. xii. 

' Macrobius, Saturnaliorum, etc., lib. i., 26. 

' Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap, xvi., p. 

' See picture of Prince Coli being prepared for cremation; also in 
Sacred Mysteries, p. 80. 

Page. 84. 

Plate XXXI. 

Page 84- 

Plate XXXII. 


judgment, to indicate their good deeds.' The same custom 
obtained in Mayach. This we learn from the various statues 
of personages of high rank discovered at Chicften by the 
writer — that of Prince Coh and others. They invariably 
hold between their hands a vase placed on the abdomen. In 
Mayach this vase was typical of the Gulf of Honduras. 
Whence such strange customs among the Egy3)tians? Por- 
phyry tells us^ that in Egypt, " "When the bodies of persons of 
distinction were embalmed, they took out the intestines and 
put them into a vessel, over which (after some other rites had 
been performed for the dead) one of the embalmers pronounced 
an invocation to the sun in behalf of the deceased." These 
intestines, with the other viscera, were deposited in four vases ; 
each contained a separate portion. They were placed in the 
tomb with the coffin, and were supposed to belong to the four 
genii of Amenti, whose heads and names they bore.^ These 
funeral vases were called ccmopi.^ Sir Gardner Wilkinson 
asks, "Why call these funeral y&sqb ecmopi, a word without 
an etymon in the Egyptian language ? " ^ 

For the answer we must come to America. In ancient 
Peru the canopa were household gods; but the Quichua offers 
no explanation of the name. If we want to know its mean- 
ing we must inquire from the learned men of Mayach. They 
will tell us that, in remote ages, their ancestors imagined that 
the vault of heaven was sustained on four pillars, placed one at 
each of the cardinal points, whose names were Kan, Muliic, 
Ix, and Cauac ; that the Creator assigned the care of these 

' Vyilkinson, Manners and Customs, etc., vol. iii., chap, xvi., p. 470. 
' Porphyry, Be Alstinencia, lib. iv. 10. 

* Wilkinson, Manners and Oustoms, vol. iii., chap, xvi., p. 481. 

* Ibid., p. 482. 
' Ibid., p. 490. 


pillars to four brothers, whose names were Kan-Bacab, the 
yellow Bacab, who stood at the south ; Chac-Bacab, the red 
Bacab, who occupied the east; Zac-Bacab, the white Bacab, 
to whom was intrusted the north ; and Ek-Bacab, the black 
Bacab, whose place was the west. They were held in great 
veneration, and regarded as the genii of the wind.' These 
learned men will also inform us that those powerful genii were 
represented by four jars with narrow necks, surmounted by 
human heads,^ which jars, during certain religious ceremonies, 
were filled with water, and caUed Canob, that is, the " Four," 
the "strong," the "mighty."^ From the Maya Canob the 
Egyptians no doubt called canopi the four vases in which were 
deposited the entrails of the dead. Do not these four Bacabs 
recall the four gods of the Hindoo mythology who preside at 
the four cardinal points — Indra, the king of heaven, to the 
east; Kouvera, the god of wealth, to the north; Varouna, 
the god of the waters, to the west; and Yama, the judge of the 
dead, to the south ? * Or the Four Mountains, Sse-yo, of the 
Chinese — the " four quarters of the globe," as they are wont 
to designate their country — Tal- Tseng being the yo of the 
East; Sigcm-fou, that of the west; Hou-Kowang, that of the 
south; and Clien-si, that of the north?' Or, again, the four 

' Landa, Las Gosas de Yucatan, p. 206, et passim. 

^ Bac means, in the Maya language, "to pour water from a narrow- 
mouthed vase." Pio Perez, Maya dictionary. Plate xxxiii. 

' CogoUudo, Historiade Yucathaii, lib. iv., cap. viii., p. 197. Edit., 1688. 

« Manava-Bharma-Sastra, lib. 1, Sloka 87. 

^ Cliou-King, chap. i. Yoa-tien,^axt\. These four mountains recall the 
four pillars that support heaven ; that is, the four cardinal points of the 
Mayas, of the Hindoos, of the Chaldeans, and of the Egyptians. On a 
Stela of Victory of Thotmes III., in the Bulaq Museum, it is written : "I, 
Amon, have spread the fear of thee to the four pillars of Heaven." Do not 
the bags of ^olus, that contain the winds in Grecian mythology, recall the 
four bottles, or jars, of the Bacabs? 

Page 86. 

Plale XXXIII. 


principal protecting genii of the human race among the 
Chaldeans,^ whose names were : Sed-Alap or Kiruh, who was 
represented as a bull with a human face; Lamas or Nirgal, 
as a lion with a man's head; Ustur, after the human likeness; 
and JSfattig, with the head of an eagle ? 

These last were said by Ezekiel to be the four symbolical 
creatures which supported the throne of Jehovah in his visions 
by the river Chebar.' 

In this connection also may be mentioned the four genii 
of Amenti, Amset, Hapi, Tesautmutf, and Qdbhsenvf, said 
by the Egyptians to be present before Osiris while presiding 
in judgment; protecting, by their influence, every soul that 
entered the realms of the West. It was to these genii that a 
portion of the intestines, taken from the body of the deceased, 
was dedicated, and placed in the vase, or canoj), which bore their 
respective heads, as we have already seen. If the name given 
to these vases by the Egyptians is not of Maya origin, it 
must be admitted that it is a most remarkable coincidence. 

In Mayach, the brains, the charred viscera, and other 
noble parts, preserved in red oxide of mercury,^ were deposited 
in stone urns, which were placed with the statues of the 
deceased, in superb mausolei, where they are found in our 
day.* Landa' and several other chroniclers tell us that the 
Mayas made statues of stone, Avood, or clay, according to the 
wealth of the individual, in the likeness of the deceased, and, 
after cremating the remains, put the ashes in the head of said 
statues, which, for the purpose, had been made hollow. 

" F. Lenormant, Chaldean Magic and Sorcery, p. 121. 

" Ezekiel, chap, i., verse 10; chap, x., verse 14. 

^ See Appendix, note ix. 

' See farther on Prince Coh's Mausoleum (Plate Ivii.) 

■'' Landa, Las Cosaa de Yucatan, § xxxiii., p. 193. 


In Egypt, likewise, they sculptured on the lid of the coffin, 
or fastened on it, a cast of the features of the person whose 
remains it contained. 

After clearing from the altar the debris of the roof of the 
portico, that in falling had not only injured, but so completely 
buried it that it had escaped the notice of John L. Stephens 
and others who had visited the spot before us, we found that 
the atlantes and the bas-reliefs that adorned the upper side and 
the edges of the table had been brilliantly colored. The pig- 
ments used by the Maya artists were of such lasting nature 
that the colors were actually as bright as when they were laid 
on; and the vehicle or menstruum in which they were dis- 
solved had deeply penetrated the stone without injuring the 
surface. Here was the confirmation of a very interesting fact 
that we had already discovered — that the Mayas, Mice the 
Hindoos,' the Chaldees,^ the Egyptians,^ and the Greeks, col- 
ored their sculptures and statues, and provided them Avith eyes 
and nails made of shell. Shall it be said that this is a mere 
coincidence, or shall we regard it as a custom transmitted from 
one nation to another; or, again, taught to the rest by the 
people who introduced among them tlie sculptor's art? 

■ Bishop Heber in his Narrative of a Journey throti^h the Upper Provinces 
of India, vol. i., p. 386 ; vol. ii., pp. 430, 525, 530 ; vol. iii., pp. 48-49. 

' Henry Layard, Nineveh and its Remains, vol. ii., part ii., chap. iii. 

' Eusebius, Prmp. et Demons. Evang., lib. iii., chap. xi. See Appendix, 
note X. 


The state of perfect preservation of the colors again reveals 
to us several most interesting facts, that come to add the weight 
of their evidence to the many other proofs we have already 
adduced, to show that, in remote ages, the Mayas entertained 
intimate relations with the other civilized nations of Asia, 
Africa, and Europe. From these we learn that, for instance, 
yellow was the distinctive color of the royal family, as red was 
that of nobility; and that blue was used in Mayach, as in 
Egypt ^ and Chaldea,^ at funerals, in token of mourning, as it 
stiU is in Bokhara and other Asiatic countries. 

" But in that deep blue, melancholy dress 
Bokhara's maidens wear in mindfulness 
Of friends and kindred, dead or far away." ^ 

Had the Maya sages, and the ancient philosophers in Chal- 
dea and Egypt, found out what is well known to those Avho, 

' Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap, xvi., p. 
443, et passim. 

'' Henry Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, pp. 375-557. 
' Thomas Moore, Lalla Rookh, p. 74. 


in our day, have made a study of the effect produced by colors 
on the nervous system of man and animals — that blue induces 
sadness and melancholy? Blue, from the color of the vault 
of heaven, was typical of holiness, sanctity, chastity, hence of 
happiness ; it was then worn in Mayach, Egjrpt, and Chaldea 
during the period of mourning, in token of the felicity the 
soul, free from the trammels of matter and the probations of 
earthly life, was enjoying in realms beyond the grave. They 
believed that aR things existed forever; that to cease to be on 
the earth was only to assume another form somewhere else in 
the universe, where dwelt the spirits of the justified — the rna- 
xeru of the Egyptians, that, translated in Maya, xma-xelel, 
means " without tears," " whole." Landa tells us that, to the 
time of the Spanish conquest, the bodies of the individuals Avho 
offered themselves, or were offered, as propitiatory victims to 
Divinity, as well as the altars on which they were immo- 
lated, were painted blue, and held holy.^ "We have seen these 
victims, painted blue, represented in the ancient fresco paint- 
ings. The image of Mehen, the engendered, that ancestor of 
all beings, seated in the cosmic egg, Avas painted blue; so was 
the effigy of the god Kiieph,^ the Creator, in Egypt; and the 
gods, the boats, the shrines, carried in the funeral processions, 
were likewise painted blue.' In Hindostan, the god Vishnu, 
seated on the mighty seven-headed serpent Oaisha, the Ah-ac- 
cliapat of the Mayas, is painted blue, to signify his exalted 
and heavenly nature. The plumes worn on the heads of the 

' Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, chap, xxviii., p. 166. 

" Y llegado el dia, juntavaiise en el patio del templo, y si avia de ser 
sacrifioado ii saetadas, desnudavanle en cueros y untavan el cuerpo de 
azul," etc. 

^ Eusebius, Prmp. et Demons. Mvang., lib. iii., chap, xi., p. 315. 

° Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. ii., c. xiii., p. 400. 


kings and queens of the Mayas, for the same reason, were 
blue, the king being the vicegerent and vicar of Deity on 
earth.' The ceremonial mantle of the highpriest was made 
of blue and yellow feathers, to indicate that in his office he 
partook both of the divine and the kingly. 

In another work I have treated at length of the meaning 
which the Mayas attached to colors. The limits of this book 
do not alloAv for lengthy explanations on this subject; but a 
few words must be said about yellow and red, colors which 
have been held by all civilized nations of antiquity as distinc- 
tive of royalty and nobility of race. 

The unearthing of the altar at the entrance of Prince Coil's 
funeral chamber has revealed the fact that among the Mayas 
yellow was the distinctive color of the royal family. 

It is well known that throughout China the emperor and 
his family are the only persons allowed to wear yellow gar- 
ments. Red is the other color set apart for the particular use 
of the imperial familj^^ 

In the islands of the Pacific, the Sandwich Islands especially, 
yellow was likewise the distinctive color of royalty. The king 
alone had the right to wear a cloak made of yellow feathers.' 
" The cloaks of the other chiefs were adorned with red and 
3'ellow rhomboidal figures, intermingled or disposed in alter- 
nate lines, with sometimes a section of dark purple or glossy 

In Thibet, the dress of the lamas consists of a long yellow 
robe, fastened by a red girdle, and a yellow cap surmounted by 

' Is this the reason why the Egyptians also placed feathers alike on the 
heads of their gods and their kings ? 

''Memoir of Father Ripa, p. 71. "Thirteen Years' Residence at the 
Court of Pekin." Marco Polo Travels, by flugh Murray, in 1250, p. 74. 

' AVilliam Ellis, Polynesian Researches, vol. iv., chap, vi., p. 119. 


a red rosette.' The king of the lamas, the Guison-Tamha, 
when he travels, is carried in a yellow palanquin.^ 

In India, yellow and red are colors used in the worship of 
the gods. Yellow is set apart for Vishnu and Krishna and their 
wives. "Widows who immolate themselves on the funeral pyre 
of their husbands, in the Suttee ceremony, have their bodies 
painted yellow with an infusion of sandalwood and saffron.' 
Yellow is likewise the color of the dress of the bonzes in Laos, 
Indo-China; and the priests officiating at the funerals of 
Siamese kings wear yellow robes. 

Among Christians, even, yellow is the distinctive color of 
the Pontiff, whose seat is in the Solar City. The papal banner 
is white and yellow.^ Several learned writers, whose opinion 
is authority on all matters pertaining to customs and manners 
of the ancient civilized inhabitants of Asia and Africa, in try- 
ing to account for the selection of yellow as distinctive color 
for the kings, pontiffs, and priests officiating at funerals of 
kings, have suggested that, as the emperors of China, like the 
kings in India, Chaldea, Egypt, and other countries, styled 
themselves "Children of the Sun," it was but natural that 
they should select for color of their own garments that of 
their father the Sun, and to make it the mark of their exalted 
rank, and the privilege of their family. 

' M. Hue, Recollections of a Journey through Tartary, Thibet, and China, 
vol. i., chap, i., p. 33. 

^ Ibid., chap, iv., p. 89. 

° Abb6 Dubois, Description of the Manners of the People of India, pp. 

* Cartaud de la Villate, Critical Thoughts on Matliematics (vol. i., 
Paris, 1753), says : "The Cardinal Dailly and Albert the Great, Bishop of 
Ratisbonne, distribute the planets among the religions. To the Christians 
they assign the Sun. This is the reason wliy they hold the Sun in great 
veneration, and wliy the city of Rome is styled the Solar City, and the car- 
dinals wear dress of a red color, this bein" that of the Sun." 


The selection of that color may, however, have an esoteric 
and more scientific origin; one pertaining to the ancient sacred 
mysteries, known only to the initiates who had been admitted 
to the higher degrees. 

It is well to remember that the kings of Mayach, also, 
styled themselves " Children of the Sun," as did the emperors 
of Mexico and the Yncas of Peru. 

We have seen that Kan was the name of the first Bacab,' 
the powerful genius to whom the Creator had entrusted, from 
the beginning, the keeping of the pillar that supported the sky 
on the south, the fiery region whence comes the greatest heat ; 
hence Kan, for yellow, the color of fire, that direct emana- 
tion from the sun. Kin, the vivifying, the life sustainer, the 
God, without whom nothing could exist, and everything 
would perish on earth — that God who is, therefore, the visible 
image of the Creator. 

Kan is but a variation of caan, "heaven," "that which 
is above," caanal, and also of can, "serpent," which was 
the emblem of the Maya Empire. 

But Can is also the numerical "Four," the tetraktis, that 
most solemn and binding oath of the initiates into the mys- 
teries. The number four, according to Pythagoras, who had 
learned from the Egyptians the meaning of numbers, repre- 
sents the mystic name of the creative power. Can, again, is 
a copulative particle that, united to verbs, indicates that the 
action is verified frequently and with violence.^ Hence the 
name Kancab for yellow or red clay, the dry land, upheaved 
from the bottom of the deep by volcanic fires, anthropomor- 
phized in Honien. 

' Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan. Uhi supra, p. 86. 
'' Pedro Beltrau, Arte del IdUma Maya. 


According to Nahuatl cosmogony, " when Omeyocax, the 
Creator, who dwelt in himself, thought that the time had 
come when aU things should be created, he arose, and from 
one of his hands, resplendent with light, he darted four 
arrows, which struck and put in motioa. four molecules, origin 
of the four elements that floated in space. These molecules, 
on being hit by the divine arrows, became animated. Heat, 
which determined movement in matter, was developed in 
them. Then appeared the first rays of the rising sun, which 
brought life and joy throughout nature." ^ 

What conclusions are we to derive from the fact that the 
Egyptians, the Greeks, the Nahuatls,^ and the Mayas assigned 
the number Four to the creative power ? That the Chinese, other 
Asiatic, and Polynesian nations adopted, like the Mayas, as 
a distinctive badge for their kings and their religious chiefs, 
vicars of the Deity on earth, the yellow color, whose name in 
the Maya language, Kan, is but a variant of that of the 
numerical Four, or that of heaven, or that of the serpent, 
emblem of the Creator in Egypt, Chaldea, China, as in May- 
acli ? In China, Long or Tl-IIoang, the Tse-yuen, the " engen- 
dered," who had the body of a serpent, is the protector and 
arranger of all things; and Iloa, the "god of life," of the 
Chaldees,^ was represented as a serpent. I may quote in this 
connection the following remarks from Canon Eawlinson: 
" There are no means of strictly determining the precise mean- 
ing of the word (Hoa) in Bab^'^lonian, but it is pei'haps allow- 

' Lord Kingsborough, vol. ii., copy of a Mexicau luaimscript iu the 
Vatican library, No. 3738. Compare with the recital of Creation in Ma- 
nava-Dluirma-Sastra, lib. i., Slokas 5-7. 

' The origin of the Naliuatls is unknown, and a matter of discussion 
among Americanists. Were tliey Ilnns ? 

' Bcrosus, Fragments, 1. ^ 3. Ilelludius, 1. s. c. 


able to connect it provisionally with the Arabic Hiya, which 
is at once ' life ' and ' serpent, ' since, according to the best 
authority, there are strong grounds for connecting Hea or Hoa 
with the serpent of the Scripture, and the paradisiacal tradi- 
tions of the tree of knowledge and the tree of life." ' 

Will it be argued that this widespread symbol of the Cre- 
ator is but a natural consequence of the working of various 
cultivated minds, pondering over this same subject and reach- 
ing identical conclusions ? We must not lose sight of the fact, 
before answering this question in the. affirmative, that in 
Mayach alone the name of the serpent can, and the numer- 
ous meanings of the word, form a pandect. Is it not, then, 
probable, that the Mayas, having conceived the idea from the 
geographical outlines of their country, which figures a serpent 
with inflated breast, spread the notion among the other nations 
with which they had intimate relation, in whose territories 
they established colonies ? 

There is much to be said, that is interesting, on the red 

color as symbol, and its use as mark of nobility of race among 

all civilized nations of antiquity, in Asia, Polynesia, Africa, 

and America. The subject seems directly connected mth the 

object of our present investigations, since we are told by Mr. 

Piazzi Smyth, the well-known Egyptologist, that the great 

Egjrptian Sphinx was originally painted red. Judging from 

the royal standards represented in fresco paintings in Prince 

Coil's Memorial Hall; from the tint prevalent on the facades 

of the palaces of the Mayas, and that of the floors in castles 

' Such is the knowledge of the majority of the great scholars whose 
works are accepted as authority on liistorical questions. In this case Canon 
Rawlinson, in his biased ignorance, has been teaching a greater truth than 
he imagined. But let it be said to his credit — he has not done it on pur- 
pose, for he did not dream of it. 


and temples, red was the distinctive color of nobles and war- 
riors. It was in early times the symbol of nobility among the 
Egyptians, who styled themselves Eot-en-ne-Rome, a name 
having the same meaning as Tear or oara in the language of the 
Caras of the West Indies and northern coast of South Amer- 
ica, and that of those Carians, once the terror of the inhabit- 
ants of the littoral of the Mediterranean, and who finally 
established themselves on the western coast of Asia Minor; 
that is, of Ya.e\i par excellence, of "brave men." Was it 
because their ancestors came from the country of the red men 
in the West, that in their paintings they invariably painted 
their skin a reddish brown, as did the Mayas ? From remote 
antiquity to our day, among all nations civilized or savage, 
red has been and is typical of courage, war, contention ; and, 
by contrast, of prayer and supplication. 

That the red color in the "Lands of the West" was the 
distinctive mark of warriors and of power, there can be no 
doubt. AU the chroniclers of the time of the Spanish con- 
quest tell us that where the hosts of natives opposed the 
invaders and confronted them in battle array, their faces and 
bodies were painted red.^ To this day the North American 
Indians, particularly when on the warpath, daub their faces 
and bodies with red paint. 

Plinius ^ speaks of Camillus painting his face and bodj' red, 
before entering Rome, on returning victorious after the expul- 
sion of the Gauls from Italy by the troops under his com- 
mand. It was customary for Roman soldiers to paint their 
bodies red in token of their bravery. The same author also 

' Cogolludo, Hist, de Tucathan, lib. i., chap, ii., p. 6 ; lib. ii., chap. vL, 
p. 77, et passim. 

' Pliuius, llistoria Nat., .xxxiii. 7. 


says that one of the first acts of the censors on entering upon 
their duties was to paint the face of Jupiter Avith minium, such 
being the practice on every high festival day. 

In Egypt, the god Set, the enemy of Horus, Avas styled " the 
very valiant." He was painted red. At Ombos he was wor- 
shipped as the evil principle of nature, under the name of 
Nvhti, a word for which the Maya affords this very natural 
etymon: nup, "adversary;" ti, "for." He Avas the chief 
god of the Avarlike Khati. 

The possession of land and wealth has always been the 
privilege of the strongest and the most daring ; of the Avarriors, 
who, Avrongly or rightly, possessed themselves of the property 
of the conquered, and appropriated it to their own use. In 
the distribution of spoils, the chiefs never failed to set apart 
for themselves the largest share. At first, these chiefs were 
elective. They Avere chosen on account of their superior phys- 
ical strength and their proAvess in battle. Having acquired 
Avealth, they paid men to fight under their leadership. To 
insure their poAver and authority, even over their own folloAv- 
ers, they contracted alliances with other leaders, so that they 
might help each other in case of necessity. Thus they formed 
a privileged class, the Nobility, that by and by claimed to be 
of a nature superior to that of other men. They justified that 
claim by close obedience to the laAv of selection. Eed, color 
of the blood shed on the battle-field, became the distinctive 
color of "nobility of race," of "brave and valiant man," of 
"man par excellence ; ''^ therefore, emblematic of poAver, 
strength, dominion. 

All historians say that red in Egypt Avas the SATubol of nobil- 
ity of race. Landa > says it was customary Avith the aborigines 
' Landa, Las Gosas de Yucatan, pp. 117-185. 


of Yucatan, both male and female, to adorn themselves with 
red paint. According to Du ChaiUu,' the Fans of equatorial 
Africa, who have so many customs strangely identical with 
those of the ancient Mayas — even that of filing their front 
teeth like a saw — paint themselves red, men and women. 

Herodotus ^ asserts that the Maxyes (Mayas ?), a people 
dwelling to the westward of Lake Triton, in Libya, daubed 
themselves with vermilion. 

Molina, in his vocabulary of the Mexican tongue, at the 
word TlapilU, explains that whilst its primary meaning is "to 
paint in red color," it also signifies "noble," "ancient," and 
that Tlapilli eztli implies, metaphorically, nobility of blood 
and family. 

Garcilasso de la Yega,^ Cieza de Leon,^ Acosta,^ and other 
writers on Peruvian customs and manners, inform us that the 
fringe and tassel of the Llantu, royal headdress of the Yncas, 
were made of fine crimson wool. 

Mr. William Ellis asserts ^ that the Areois of Tahiti, in cer- 
tain religious ceremonies, painted their faces red; that "the 
ceremony of inauguration, answering to coronation among 
other nations, consisted in girding the king with the Maro Uru, 
or sacred girdle of red feathers, which identified him with the 

The prophet Ezekiel mentions the figures of red men pictured 

' Du Chaillu, Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Afriai, pp. 94, 
104-107, et jiasdm. 

' Herodotus, Hist., lib. iv. 19. 

' Garcilasso de la Vega, Gomnuntarios Reales, part i., lib. i., cap. 22 ; 
lib. vi., cap. 28. 

' Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 114. 

' Acosta, Ilistoria de las Indias OcciJentales, lib. iv., cap. 12. 

'' William Ellis, Polynesian Researches, vol. i.. p. ISO. 

^ Ibid., vol. iii., chap, iv., p. 85. 


on the walls of the edifices at Babylon, similar to the human 
figures found on those of the tombs in Hindostan and Etruria. 
In Egypt, the god Atum, emblem of the setting sun, was 
painted red. The Egyptians regarded him as the creator of 
all things visible and invisible. Were we not told of it by 
the writers on Egyptian manners and customs, we would learn 
it from the meaning of the name in the Maya language — Ah- 
Tum ; literally, "he of the new things." Here again red is 
symbolical of power — might. 

According to Sir Gardner "Wilkinson,* Egyptologists are 
not positive as to the manner in which the name written with 
the initial letters A and T should be read. It is sometimes 
interpreted T-Mu. The paintings in the tombs where he is 
represented in a boat in company with Athor, Thoth, and Ma, 
the goddess of truth,' show that he filled an important office in 
the regions of Amenti. 

If -we accept T-Mu as the correct reading of the hiero- 
glyphs that form his name, then that god must have been the 
personification of that continent which disappeared under the 
waves of the ocean, mentioned by Plato and other Greek 
writers as Atlantis. The Mayas also called it Ti-Mu, the 
country of Mu, a name that the Greeks knew equally well, as 
we will see later on. Do we find here the explanation of why 
the Egyptians figured Atum in a boat, holding an office in the 
West, and painted him red, the color of the inhabitants of the 
countries with which they were most familiar, and of which 
they kept the most perfect remembrance ? 

The same motive may have influenced the Hindoo philoso- 

' Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap, xiii., 
p. 178. 

'^ These names are Maya words expressive of the attributes imputed to 
these gods by the Egyptians. 


phers when they painted with red Ocmesha, god of prudence, 
of letters and science. By this they perhaps wished to indi- 
cate that men of that color, coming from Pdtala, the antip- 
odes,^ imported to India, with civilization, the knowledge of 
letters, arts, and sciences. 

In Polynesia, red is still regarded by the natives of the 
islands as a favorite color with the gods. "WiUiam EUis says 
"that the ordinary means of communicating or extending 
supernatural powers was, and stiU is, the red feather of a 
small bird found in many of the islands, and the beautiful long 
feathers of the Tropic or man-of-war bird." ^ 

We are told that when kings, chiefs, and nobles died they 
were deified, became the minor gods, watching over the desti- 
nies of mankind, and the mediators between man and the 
Godhead. The red color seems to have continued to be sjva.- 
bolical of their new powers, as it had been of their authority 
on earth. This may possibly account for the custom, prevalent 
in Mayacli, Polynesia, and India, of devotees stamping the 
impression of their hands, dipped in red liquid, on the walls of 
the temples, of the sacred caves, and other hallowed places, 
when imploring some benefaction from the Deity. 

' MahaVharata-Adipana, Slokas 7788, 7789 ; also Bliagwvata-Purana, ix., 
XX. 33. See Appendix, note xi. 

' William Ellis, Polynesian Researches, vol. ii., chap, ix., p. 260. 

Although there is much to be said in connection with this interesting 
fact, wliich is one of the many vestiges of the 3Iayas' presence among the 
Polynesians, I will simply remark, at present, that in Egypt the feather was 
the distinctive adornment of the gods and kings, as in Mnyacli it was of 
the kings, pontiffs, nobles, and warriors, differing in color according to 
their rank and their more or less exalted position ; as is yet in Cliina the 
button and the peacock feather ; that the Maya name for feather is 
Kukuin, the radical of which, Ku, is the word for the Supreme Intelli- 
gence; and that /i7m in Egyptian means "Intelligence," " Spirit," "Light," 
" Manes." 


This most ancient and universal belief, that the inferior 
gods — that is to say, the glorified spirits of eminent men and 
women — are mediators between the Divinity and earth's inhab- 
itants, has survived to our day, and is still prevalent with mil- 
lions of human beings. The Church of Rome teaches this 
doctrine to her followers. Her Fathers and Doctors received it 
from the Greek philosophers, several of whom held that " each 
demon is a mediator between God and man. " ^ Many festivals 
have therefore been instituted by the Church in honor of the 
saints, who, the faithful are taught to believe, convey their 
prayer to the Almighty. 

True, these do not, as the devotees in some temples in India 
still do, stamp the red imprint of their hands on the walls,^ to 
remind the god of their vow and prayer; but they fasten 
votive offerings made of gold, silver, copper, or wax, accord- 
ing to the worshipper's means, to the image and to the altar 
of the saint invoked. 

Such votive offerings, made of clay, are found scattered 
most abundantly round the altars in the temples of the ancient 
Mayas, or buried in the ground at the foot of the statues of 
their great men. 

It is well known that no two individuals have hands of 
exactly the same size or shape ; that the lines in the palms differ 
in every person. The red impress of the hand, on that accoimt, 

' Plato, Simpos, vol. iii., pp. 302-303 (edit. Serrain). St. Clement of 
Alexandria, Stromata, v., lib. c, p. 260 (edit. Potter), in admitting that 
the good demons were the angels, stated the opinion of many Christians of 
his time ; and Dionysius Areopagite, in his Celestial Hierarchy, chap, x., 
§ 11, says : "All the angels are interpreters and messengers of their supe- 
riors ; the most advanced, of God who moves them, and the others as they 
are moved by God." 

' Account of General Grant's visit to the Maharajah of Jeypoor, New 
York Herald, edition of April 12, 1879. 


came to be regarded as a private seal, a mark of ownership.* 
As such it was used from time immemorial by the Mayas, in 
whose temples and palaces can yet be seen numerous red im- 
prints of hands of various shapes and sizes. Such impressions 
being met with in aU. places in Polynesia and in India where 
other vestiges of the Mayas are found, may serve as compass 
to guide us in following their migrations over the vast expanse 
of land and sea, and to indicate the ancient roads of travel. 
In time the red color, used in thus recording invocations to 
the gods and registering the rights of ownership, came to be 
accepted as legal color for seals in public and private docu- 
ments. The Egyptians made use of a red mixture to stamp 
the imprint of their personal seals on the doors of tombs, of 
houses, and of granaries, to secure them.^ 

Eed seals are used by the Mongol kings on aU official docu- 
ments.^ This custom of using materials of a red color to seal 
all important and legal documents has reached our times; it 
still obtains among all civilized nations. 

The foregoing facts tell us, it is true, of the adoption of the 
red color, among aU civilized nations of antiquity, as symbol of 
nobility of race and of invocation — devotees using it in recording 
their vow or prayer when imploring the benison of the gods on 
themselves or their homes; also of its being employed in seals 
as mark of ownership, hence of dominion over the objects thus 
sealed; but nowhere is any mention made of the people 
whom the custom originated, nor why it came to be the symbol 

' Henry R. Schoolcraft, "Ou the Red Hand," apiid 3. L. Stephens, 
Incidents of JVavels in Yucatan, vol. ii., p. 476, Appendix. 

' Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap, xvi., 
p. 437. 

' j\I. Hue, Recollections of a Journey through Tartary, Thibet, and China, 
vol. i., chap, viii., p. 183. 


of acts so dissimilar as the assertion of power, might, and 
dominion, and the recording of a prayer and a supplication. It 
is again from the Mayas that we may learn the cause of this 
seeming antithesis; the various meanings of the single Maya 
word cliac afford a complete explanation. 

Chac is the Maya word for "red." Cliaac is the 
rain-storm, and the thunder, that powerful and terrible genius 
that produces the rain which brings fertility to the earth. 
This giant, this Chac, was held as the "god of rain," 
"the god of plenty," "the keeper of the fields," in whose 
honor the great festival, called Tupp-Kak, "the extinguish- 
ment of fire," Avas celebrated in the month of Mac,^ when 
the priests, assisted by the Cliacs, their aids, implored his 
blessing in the shape of abundant rains, to bring forth the 
crops and produce plenteous harvests, hence joy and happiness 
to the people. 

Here, then, we find the reason why the color red was at 
the same time the symbol for violence and for supplication 
or prayer. It typified the violence of the thunder, the god 
of rain, and the supplications of his priests that he should 
grant a bountiful harvest that would insure happiness to his 

The cross was his emblem.^ 

' Landa, Las Oosas de Yucatan, § xl., p. 252. 

This mouth of Mac began on the 13th of our month of March, and 
ended on the 2d of April. 

' Aug. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, etc., p. 128, et passim. 


The following invocation to the god of rain was made 
known for the first time to students of American antiquities 
by the learned Abbe Brasseur in his Chrestomathy.' He tells 
us he had it from a native, while at the hacienda of X-Can- 
chakaii. It is one of the many ancient prayers yet extant 
among the natives, who still repeat them when, in the obscure 
recesses of the forests, or in the depths of the dark, mj^ste- 
rious subterranean caves with Avhich the country is honey- 
combed, they perform some of the antique rites of the rehgioa 
of their forefathers.^ 

As published, the invocation, adultei-ated by the interpola- 
tion of Christian words taught the natives by the Catholic 
priests, despoiled of its archaic form, loses much of its interest. 
The individual who translated it for the Abbe, either did it 
very carelessly, or purposely did not interpret all the words, or 
was very illiterate. As presented it is stripped of its most 

' AbbO Brasseur, " Chrestomatbie," iu his Elements dc la Langue itaya, 
Troano MS., vol. ii., p. 101. 

' Alice D. Le Plougeou, Here and There in Yucatan, pp. SS-S9. 


instructive features, which relate to certain religious practices 
in use among devotees in olden times. Although the learned 
Abbe says he has tried to improve the translation, it is certain 
that he himself is far from having apprehended the true mean- 
ing of the Maya words. As for Dr. Brinton — who in his 
books poses as authority on all matters pertaining to the 
Mayas and their language, and is very prone to criticise 
others ^ — by rendering verbatim, in English, the French abbe's 
version,^ he has conclusively demonstrated that he does not 
understand the context of the prayer better than Brasseur, 
who, he affirms, " knew next to nothing about Maya." ^ 

On our return to Yucatan in June, 1880, Sefior Dn. Vicente 
Soils de Leon, one of the present owners of the hacienda 
of X-Canchakan, within the boundaries of which are situ- 
ated the ruins of the ancient citj'' of Mayapan, invited Mrs. 
Le Plongeon and myself to visit the remains of the famous 
abodes of the powerful king Coconi, and of his descendants 
until the year 1446 of the Christian era, Avhen, according to 
Landa, the lords and nobles of the country, with the chief of 
the Tutuxius at their head, put to death the then reigning 
Cocom and his sons, sacked his palace, and destroyed by fire 
his city and stronghold, after removing the libraries and other 
precious things from the temples and private dwellings.* 

Being at X-Cancliakau, I met a native, Marcelo Canicli, 
an old Mayoral who had lived for more than forty years on the 

' Dr. Brinton presumes to criticise, witliout adducing his reasons for so 
doing, tlie assertion made by the author that the ancient Maya architects 
made use, in the construction of tlieir edifices, of a lineal measure identical 
with the metre. For an answer to this unfounded criticism, see Appendix, 
notes xii. and xiv. 

' D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, p. 167. 

' Ibid., p. 361. For a reply to this assertion, see Appendix, note xv. 

* Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, chap, viii., p. 50. 


hacienda. He had a clear remembrance of John L. Stephens 
and his companions Messrs. Catherwood and Cabot. He also 
remembered well Abbe Brasseur, to whom he had recited the 
invocation to the god of rain. When he repeated it to nie, 
notwithstanding the admixture of Christian ideas, I saw in it 
not only one of those archaic prayers that continue to live in 
the memory of the natives, but that it contained most interest- 
ing information, and the explanation of certain ceremonies 
that the ancient sculptors have so graphically portrayed in 
their bas-reliefs. 

Some months later we again established our residence in 
Uxmal, that ancient metropolis of the Tutul-Xius. "While 
there, the head man of the laborers who accompanied me was 
the late Dn. Lorenzo Pacab. He was a lineal descendant of 
the kings of Muna. His commands, given in a soft low 
voice, were instantly obeyed by the men. He understood 
Spanish, was fond of reading, but hated to speali the tongue of 
the destroyers and persecutors of his race. He himself had 
cruelly suffered at the hands of the white man. StUl, when he 
died, so highly respected was he by his townfolk, that they 
honored his remains with as grand a funeral as had taken place 
for many years in Mima ; the principal inhabitants, white as 
well as native, accompanying his body, reverentially, to its last 

I do not remember having ever seen him laugh. Some- 
times a sad, bitter smile Avould pla}' upon his lips, when allusion 
was made to the history of his people. Notwithstanding the 
color of my skin, a great friendshij) sprang up between us — a 
true, sincere attachment. He was well informed concerning 
the traditions, antique lore, customs, and religious rites of his 
ancestors. I could seldom induce him to speak on that subject, 


to him so replete with painful, cruel memories. Only when 
I pointed out to him the strange similarity of the customs and 
manners of ancient Mayas and those of ancient Egyptians, 
Chaldees, and other historical nations of antiquity, would he 
relax from his habitual secrecy, and ask me questions that, to 
my mind, were like the lifting of a veil hung over a bright 

When I showed him the invocation as given to me by 
Canicli, he smiled, and passed his pencil, without speaking, 
over the words referring to Christian ideas. ^ 

Invocation to the God of Rain. 

Tippen lakin yum6 ti A 
cant6 tzil caan, ti ti cante 
tzil Ilium, cti lublil in than 
ti cancan xotllol, ti u Icab 

U likil muyal lakin, ti 
nacahbal cliumuc ti cdnil 
Alitepal, ti oxlaliun taz 
niuyal, Alitzolan, Kan 
chac ; ii paatalibal yum 
tzibol ul-Iaahbalob Alitzo- 
lan, Kancheob ti cilicli 
oami balche, yetel u cilich 
yacunali ti yumtzilob, Ah- 
canan colob ntial ii cllaob 

When the master rises in 
the East, the four parts of 
heaven, the four corners of the 
earth, are shattered, and my 
broken accents fall in the hands 
of the Lord. 

When the cloud rises in the 
East, and ascends to the centre 
where sits the Orderer of the 
thirteen banks of clouds, King 
Alitzolan, the "tearer," the 
"yellow thunder," Avhere the 
lords who tear await the com- 
ing of Alitzolan, then the 
keeper of the troughs wherein 
is fermenting the precious 

' I present here, side by side, tlie Maya text and my own Englisli trans- 
lation. Dictionary in hand, Maya students will be able to verify its 



ti cilich oabilah, tu cilich 
noh yumbil. 

balche, full of love for the 
lord's tearers, "guardians of 
the crops," presents the holy 
offerings that they may place 
them in the presence of the 
Most High, whom they rever- 
ence as a father. 

I also offer the virgin bird 
with my holy love. Thou 
wilt look at me when I cut my 
privities, I who beg thy bless- 
ings with my heart full of love 
for thee, and ask thee to accept 
my precious offerings and place 
them in the hands of the Most 

Cin kubic li zuhuy chii- 
cliil yetel in cilich yacu- 
nahil; tech bin yanac a 
pactic, en ti u xothol ma- 
ali kintzil; cin katoltic 
si putic ^ cicithan tu uolol 
a puczikal ca kubic a cil- 
ich yacunah a chic Zuhuy 
oabilah ; bay-tumen pay- 
ben utial kubic ti ti Kab 

The mutilation of the devotee by his own hand, and his 

prayer that the gods should look upon him whilst he performs 

the operation, recall vividly the practices in use among the 

Phoenicians and the Phrygians during the orgiastic rites, and 

their worship of the goddess Amraa (Agdistis), the "great 

mother of the gods," Maia, when J'^oung men were wont to 

make themselves eunuchs with a sharp shell, crying out at the 

same time, " Take this, Agdistis.'''' ' Herodotus^ tells us that 

at the feast of Isis, at Busiris, "after the sacrifices, men and 

women, to the number of several myriads, beat themselves — 

in honor of what god, it would be impiety to say. The 

' Max Duncker, History of Antiquity, vol. i., p. 531. 
'Herodotus, History, lib. ii,, l.\i. 

Page 109. 

Plate XXXIV. 

msz — ' 

IS' ?i3 -'^i ;'^]^'^:^'"\r:ig :-iiii )lgii , 


Carians established in Egypt do still more. They stab them- 
selves on the forehead with knives." 

Landa^ informs us that "the men in Yucatan made offer- 
ings of their own blood, and inflicted the most cruel treatment 
on their own persons, to propitiate the gods and beseech their 
favor. These sanguinary a^ts of piety that formed part of the 
religious observances of the Nahuatls, when introduced by 
them among the Mayas, were looked upon by the latter with 
great abhorrence, as acts unworthy of intelligent beings, for- 
eign to the religion of their fathers, and distasteful to the 
gods. "We may here record another singular coincidence. The 
worshippers of Siva, the Hindoo god of destruction, and those 
of his wife, the cruel goddess Kali, are wont to torture them- 
selves to do homage to these divinities by drawing a rope 
through their pierced tongue,^ as we see in the sculpture from 
Manche, now in the British Museum. (Plate XXIX.) 

The invocation to the god of rain affords, also, an expla- 
nation of the subjects represented on the tablets of the altars 
in the temples of Naclian (Palenque), a city which seems to 
have been sacred to the god of rain, symbolized by an image of 
the Southern Cross. This special worship would seem to indi- 
cate that the inhabitants of that country were agriculturists. 
The analysis of the tablet represented in the illustration 
strengthens this presumption. (Plate XXXIV.) 

A knowledge of the symbolism in vogue among ancient 
Maya adepts, together with the text of the invocation, gives 
us a clear understanding of the meaning of the sculptures on 
the said tablet. 

' Landa, Las Cosas ie Yucatan, pp. 160-163. 

' William Ward, A View of the History, Literature, and Religion of the 
Hindoos, pp. 282-384. 


There can be no question as to the central figure represent- 
ing a cross, image of the constellation known as the Southern 
Cross. When at the beginning of the month of May this 
appears perpendicular over the horizon, the husbandman knows 
that the rainy season is near at hand. He then prepares to 
sow the seed for the next crop. This is why, in aU times and 
in all countries, the cross has been regarded as harbinger of 
the regeneration of nature, and the sign of the life to come; and 
why the Tj ^'^'^j in Egypt, was placed in the hands or on the 
chest of all mummies. 

This symbol, so common in the sculptures and temples of 
Palenque, sacred to the gods of rain, is of very rare occur- 
rence in those of Yucatan, whose inhabitants were navigators, 
hence worshippers of the mastodon, god of the sea, whose 
image adorns their palaces, sacred and public buildings. 

The Maya meaning of Ti-lia-u, name of the sign T, is, 
" This is for Avater; " and the main ornament, ^^^^^) on 
the headdress of the priest standing on the right, or east, side 
of the cross, is the well-known symbol of water, emblem of the 
divinity to whom he ministers. 

On each side of the cross stands a human figure ; that of a 
man on the right, that of a woman on the left. They are 
emblematic of the dual forces of nature. 

As in the tableau represented in plates vii. and viii. of the 
Codex Cortesianus, herein reproduced (Plates LV.-LVI.), the 
male principle. Cab, the " world," the "ancestor," is pictured 
facing the east, holding in his hand the sign of life, Ik three 
times repeated, so in the Palenque tablet the male, he who 
fecundates, is placed to the right (that is, the east), whence the 
" Lord," life-giver and sustainer, the Sun, rises every morning 
to animate and give strength to all nature. 


As again in the tableau of the Cortesianus, the female prin- 
ciple, Ik mamacali, the " life nuUifier," " she who causes life 
to disappear," is placed to the left, so in the Palenque tablet 
the female, the generator, is likewise placed to the left (that is, 
the west), where every evening the sun disappears, leaving 
behind him darkness, in which generation takes place. The 
badge on her arm, a circle with its perpendicular and horizontal 
diameters intersecting each other, image of the mundane cross, 
is the symbol of the impregnated virgin womb of nature,' 
hence of the life to come; while her headdress is adorned with 
leaves, emblem of the life that has come. 

Both are making offerings to their god: the priest presents 
a young bird; the priestess, a full-grown plant with its roots, 
trunk, leaves, flowers, and fruit. We are told that they are 
the cliacs, keepers of the troughs in which the sacred balch6 
is fermenting.' 

It is well to recall here what Father CogoUudo,^ quoting 
various authors who wrote regarding the Conquest and the 
customs and religion of the natives, says respecting the cross 
as symbol of the god of rain: 

" Gomara, speaking of the religion of the people of the 
island of Cozumel, says : . . . ' Near by there was a tem- 
ple that looked like a square tower, in which they kept a very 

' See Appendix, note xiii. 

' Tlie balcli<5 was a fermented liquor made of honey and the bark of 
the balchg tree steeped in water. It was used to make libations in the 
sacrifices to tlie gods, and in all religious rites — as the wine is used at the 
mass in Catholic churches. Does not this sacred balchfi of the Mayas 
bring to mind the soma of the Hindoos, made from the Asdepias acida and 
from the Sarcostemma acidum; or the amrta, tlie divine beverage of the 
Indian gods ; or the nectar that Homer tells us the beautiful HGb6 dispensed 
to the gods of Olympus ? 

^ CogoUudo, Hist, de Yucathan, lib. iv., cap. ix., pp. 200-202. 


famous idol. At the foot was an enclosure made of stone and 
mortar, highly finished with battlements. In the middle of 
this existed a stone cross ten palms high, which they regarded 
and worshipped as the god of rain ; because when it did not 
rain, and the water was scarce, they went to it in procession 
and with great devotion. They made offerings of quails that 
had been sacrificed, in order to allay its wrath against them 
with the blood of this small bird; after which they held it 
certain that rain would soon fall. ' " . . . " Torquemada says, 
that after the Indian Chilam Balam showed them the symbol 
of the cross, they regarded this as the god of rain, and felt 
certain that they would never be in want of rain whilst they 
devoutly asked it of the cross." ... " Dr. Yllescas, in his 
Pontifical (lib. 6, chap. 23, § 8), also says that they had a god, 
in the shape of a cross, which they regarded as the god of 
rain.''"' . . . 

Without a knowledge of the Maya language and of the 
symbolism of the Maya occultists, it would be well-nigh 
impossible to understand why a quail, a bird, in full plumage, 
is figured perched on the top of the cross; why the cross is 
planted on a skull; why devotees offered sacrifices of birds to 
the god of rain. The explanation, however, is most simple. 
The bird on the top of the cross typifies the seed deposited in 
the ground at the beginning of the rainy season, and placed in 
the keeping of the god of rain, invoked as protector of the 
fields. Chiicli is the Maya generic name for " bird; " but it 
also means "seed," and "to gather one by one grains that 
have been scattered"," as birds do in the fields, robbing the 
owners of both the seed and the crops. What, then, more 
natural than to offer their enemies in sacrifice to the god, to 
the Yiiniil col, the lord of the crops? This is why they 


made offerings of birds, those destroyers of the crops, those 
robbers of the seed, to the protector of the fields. 

The cross being planted on a skull simply indicates that 
from death springs life; that the seed symbolized by the bird 
on the top of the cross must first become decomposed in the 
ground before coming again to life in the shape of a plant. 

It is well to notice that all the ornaments that, besides the 
text, adorn the tablet, are either leaves, flowers, or some other 
parts of the living plant, showing that the temple, where it 
was placed, was dedicated to the god, protector of agriculture. 


Let us revert to our inquiry concerning the customs observed 
at funerals by both Mayas and Egyptians. We will examine 
one or two so remarkable that they cannot be honestly attrib- 
uted to mere coincidence. 

"We have seen that in Mayacli, as in India, Chaldea, 
Egjrpt, and many other countries, a certain kind of ape was 
held sacred; its worship being, no doubt, closely related to 
that of ancestors. But how came the cynocephalus to be con- 
nected in Egypt with the rites of the dead ? This species of 
monkey is not a native of Egypt, but is of Central America, 
where it is very abundant. 

Thoth, the god of wisdom and letters, was the reputed 
preceptor of Isis and Osiris. He was supposed to hold the 
office of scribe in Amenti, where his business was to note 
down the actions of the dead, and present or read the record of 
them to Osiris while sitting as judge of the lower regions. 
Thoth, in that ca]3acity, is represented as a cjaiocephalus mon- 
key, in a sitting posture. He is thus frequently' portrayed 
seated on the top of the balance in the judgment scenes, and 


regarded as the second of the gods of the dead. In May- 
ach, also, Baao, the cynocephalus, was the attendant of the 
" god of death," and always represented in a kneeling posture. 

During our sojourn at Uxmal we surveyed a ruined edifice 
little known to visitors, although quite extensive. On the sum- 
mit of the pyramid, forming the north side, is a shrine com- 
posed of two apartments, one smaller than the other. The 
smaller, the sanctum sanctorum, can only be reached by pass- 
ing through the larger. Opposite the doorway of the front 
chamber, and at the head of the steep stairway leading to the 
yard, is a round stone altar where, Landa tells us, human vic- 
tims were immolated, as offerings to the deity. At the foot of 
those stairs is a large rectangular platform, one metre high. 
The sides were once composed of slabs covered with inscrip- 
tions beautifully sculptured in intaglio to make them more 
lasting. Having been submitted to the action of fire, the 
characters have become well nigh obliterated. On several of 
the slabs that had happened to fall face downward, the writing 
is well preserved. 

The centre of the platform was occupied by a huge statue 
of the Yum cimil, "god of death," represented by a skeleton 
in a squatting posture. His attendants were six cynocephali, 
kneeling as if in prayer (Plate XXIV.), placed on each side of 
him, one at each corner of the platform, one between these in 
the middle of the east and west sides. The god of death faced 
south, where his kingdom was supposed to be situated. 

In the present state of our knowledge it is difficult to 
surmise why that species of ape came to be connected, in 
Mayach, with the rites of the dead. We might, perhaps, 
find the explanation by translating the inscriptions that 
adorned the platform, at least what remains of them. Is it a 


mere coincidence that in Egypt, as in Mayach, cynocephali 
were thus associated with the king of the dead ? That such 
was the fact there is no doubt. But who can to-day tell what 
circumstances concurred to originate it ? The cynocephalus is 
a native of Ethiopia, not of Egypt.' It is also indigenous of 
Yucatan and other parts of Central America. 

Images of cynocephali, always in the attitude of prayer, 
are found in many places in Yucatan, as well as in Copan 
(Honduras) and Guatemala.^ Baao and Chuen, of whose 
metamorphosis into monkeys we read in the " Popol-vuh, " ' 
and which is said to have taken place in Xibalba, the lower 
regions, the kingdom of darkness, were worshipped in May- 
ach, particularly in Yucatan and Oaxaca.^ 

Baao and Chuen are the names of personages who lived 
in times anterior to those when King Caiichi and his family 
reigned over Mayach. Their history has come to us, in the 
sacred book of the Quiches, in the form of a myth. Deified 
after their death, as aU rulers were, the generations that fol- 
loAved them paid them divine homage. Baao is the Maya 
word for " cynocephalus." The meaning of the name Chuen 
is now lost. We only find it as that of the eighth day of the 

Like the Mayas/ the Egyptians regarded the West as the 
region of darkness, the place where the souls of the dead 

' Plinius, Hist. Nat., viii. 54 ; vii. 3. 

' Horapollo, Ilierogly., lib. i., 14, 15. In astronomical subjects two 
cynocepliali are frequently represented standing in a boat in attitude of 
prayer before the sun. 

^ Popol-Vuh, part ii., chap, vii., et passim. 

* Fray Qeronimo Roman, liepublica de las Indias Ocddentales, lib. ii., 
cap. XV. 

° Codcv Cortcaianus; plate viii. 


returned to the bosom of their ancestors in the realms of 
Amenti. There King Osiris sat on a throne in the midst of 
the waters ; there, also, it was that Thoth performed his office 
of scribe. "Was, then, the worship of the cynocephalus, his 
totem, brought to Egypt from the Lands of the West ? 

Another funeral custom among the Egyptians, mentioned 
by ChampoUion Figeac ^ and Sir Gardner Wilkinson,^ was that 
of placing the right arm of the mummies of distinguished per- 
sons across the chest, so that the right hand rested on the left 
shoulder. We find that this same custom obtained in May- 
acli. We shall refer to it more at length, later on, when 
explaining the sculptures that ornamented Prince Coh's 

If we examine the ornaments worn by the personages rep- 
resented by the atlantes, those portrayed in the bas-reliefs on 
the jambs of the doorway and on the antse that supported the 
entablature of the portico of Prince Coh's Memorial Hall, 
likenesses, probably, of individuals who lived Avhen the struc- 
ture Avas erected, who Avere, no doubt, friends and relatives of 
the deceased prince, we find that said ornaments consisted of 
ear-rings, nose-rings, nose-studs, armlets, bracelets, anklets, 
garters, necklaces, breastplates, and finger-rings. From times 
immemorial to our day, the same kind of jeAvelry has been 
used in India, Chaldea, Asia Minor, Egypt, and Greece. Nose 
rings and studs, however, seem to have been ornaments essen- 
tially belonging to the Western Continent. They are still as 
much the prcA^alent adornment among the tribes living on the 
banks of the upper Amazon Eiver and its affluents, in the very 

' ChampoUion Figeac, L^Vhivers, Egypte, p. 261. 

' Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. ill., chap, xvi., 
p. 486. 


heart of the southern American continent,' and with the 
majority of the Mexican tribes,^ as they were among the 
Mayas even at the time of the Spanish Conquest.^ They are 
habitually worn by women of all classes in India; ^ by Arab 
women of Mesopotamia,^ as they were by Jewish women in the 
time of Isaiah. He threatened the daughters of Zion, on 
account of their haughtiness, with the loss of their ornaments, 
among which were their rings and other nose jewels.* So 
far as we know, nose-rings and nose-studs were not in vogue 
among the ancient Aryans. They, therefore, did not intro- 
duce the custom of wearing such ornaments in the countries 
they invaded. Said custom must have been brought to Asia, 
in very remote ages, by immigrants from America. It is a 
noticeable fact that it only obtained in countries where vestiges 
of the Mayas and their civilization are found. 

Must we regard as a mere coincidence the use of these nose 
and lip ornaments that, to us, seem not only extremely incon- 
venient, but rather disfiguring than beautifying the face of the 
wearer, yet so prevalent among many peoples living thousands 
of miles apart, knowing nothing of each other's existence? 

Perhaps those knowing professors who pretend to ex^Dlain 
all these identical customs existing in so many diverse nations, 
by the tendency of the human mind, in its struggles to free 

' Paul Marcoy (Lorenzo de Saint-Bricq), Travels in South Atneriea, 
vol. ii. 

" Bancroft, Native Races of America, vol. i. 

= Diego de Cogolludo, Hist, de YucatTian, lib. xii., cliap. vii., p. 699. 
Diego de Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, p. 183. 

■* C. F. Gordon Gumming, In the Himalayas and on the Indian Plains, 
chap, iv., p. 90. Bishop Heber, Narratives of a Journey through the Upper 
Provinces of India, vol. ii., pp. 179, 188. 

° Henry Layard, Ninepeh and Babylon, pp. 153-262. 

° Isaiah, chap, iii., verse 21. 


itself from the darkness of barbarism, when placed in similar 
conditions, to act in the same manner and repeat the same 
actions, will find here an incontrovertible proof of the accu- 
racy of their pet theory. But we who want more than theo- 
ries, who require proofs for every scientific or historical fact 
asserted, will ask them, How is it that the strange custom 
of wearing rings hanging from the nose or lips, or studs fast- 
ened on either or both sides of the nose, has obtained and does 
still obtain with peoples who have had intimate relations with 
the ancient Mayas, and with these only ? 

"Who can assign limits to the extravagance of the votaries 
of fashion, that most merciless of tyrants ? In all times, in all 
countries, it has held, and still holds, sway over them, be they 
civilized or savage. It incites them to deck their bodies with 
the most ridiculous and unbecoming appendages under pretext 
of adorning them; and they, its slaves, humbly obey. 

Next to these nose and lip jewels, the ornament that most 
attracts attention in the portraits represented in the sculptures 
and paintings of the Maya artists is the necklace, of which 
there is a great variety, worn by persons of rank. It would 
seem that it was used as a badge of authority, as was the 
breastplate, since some neoldaces bear a notable resemblance 
to those seen round the necks of the images of the gods and 
goddesses in Egypt. "We know that there, as in Chaldea and 
many other countries, they were bestowed on the wearers 
as a mark of royal favor;* whilst armlets and bracelets were 
tokens of rank, seldom worn except by officers of the court or 
persons of distinction.^ 

' Genesis, chap, xli., verse 43. Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Cus- 
toms, vol. iii., p. 370. 

' Rawlinson, 2'Ae Five Monarchies, vol. i., p. 568 ; vol. iii., p. 370. 


Before entering the funeral chamber, let us examine the 
graceful decorations that embellished the entablature of the 
Memorial Hall. From them we shall learn by whom, to whom, 
and for what purpose it was erected. Properly speaking, there 
is not a single inscription, not a single letter or character, on 
any part of the building ; and yet the architect who conceived 
the plan, and had it executed, so cleverly arranged the orna- 
ments that they form the dedication. We must, of course, 
read it in the Maya language. (Plate XXXV.) 

Beginning at the top of the entablature, we notice that the 
first line of ornaments represents a rope loosely twisted, and 
that within the open strands there are circles. This ornament 
is three times repeated. 

One of the names for rope, in Maya, is kaan. There are 
two words for circle, hoi and iiol. Taking hoi to be the first 
syllable of a dissyllable suggested by the two distinct objects 
that compose the ornament, and kaan to be the second, we 
have, by changing the k into c, the word holcan, which 
means a "warrior." Holcan,' moreover, was a title corre- 
' Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, § xxix., p. 17-1. 

Plate XXXV. 

Page 121. 

Plate XXXVI. 


spending to our modern captain-general. The repetition of a 
word is one form of superlative. Hence the word holcan 
three times repeated would read the " very valiant," the " war- 
rior of warriors," the " w&vv\oy par excellence.'''' 

The most prominent ornament in the second line represents 
a series of knots or joints of the bamboo cane. Moc is the 
generic Maya word for " knot. " This bamboo joint or knot is 
often used as totem of Queen Moo, whose name is the radical 
or first syllable of the verb luoocol, " to knot," and of many 
other words the meaning of which is "to join," " to tie," etc. 

On the same line there are also four circles, and a fish on 
each side of the series of knots. Cay is the Maya for " fish." 
It was the name of the highpriest, elder brother of Queen 
M6o. His totem on the monuments is always a fish. (Plate 
XXXVI.) Taking each of the circles that accompany the fish 
as a unit, we have the numerical "four," can, a word that, 
as Ave have already seen,' has many meanings in the Maya 
language. It is, as the English word cmi, always connected 
with power and might. In this instance it signifies " to 
speak," and, by extension, "to testify," particularly if we 
consider that the word uol, besides circle, also means " to 
desire," "to wish." The ornament composed of four circles 
and a fish, then, signifies that Cay, the pontiff, wishes to 
speak, to testify. 

On the third line we again find the circles uol many times 
repeated, which in this case should be translated "to ear- 
nestly desire," "to crave." These circles are separated by 
reedings, that form, as it were, a kind of frame around the 
knots in the centre of the second line, to indicate that the 
action represented by this ornament is directly connected with 
' TTbi supra, p. 93. 


the person whose totem said knots are. These reedings are 
composed of straight lines carved in the stone, and are sur- 
rounded by a border. 

To cut or carve straight lines in a hard substance with a 
sharp-pointed tool is expressed by the simple word ppaay, in 
Maya. Chi is the word for border. The whole ornament, then, 
gives the word ppaay chi. But payalchi is a "praj'^er," 
an "invocation;" and ppaachi is "to make an offering," 
" to make a vow. " The duplication of the ornament indicates 
the earnestness of the vow, or the fervor with which the 
offering is made. 

The leopards are the totem, hence the name of the hero to 
whose memory the hall was erected. By these we learn that 
he was called Coh. As to the shields covered with leopard 
skin, they are the badges of his profession, which, from the 
ropes with circles within their open strands, we have already 
learned was that of a M^arrior. 

Translating this dedication into English, it reads: "Cay, 
the highpriest, desires to hear witness that Moo luis made this 
offering, earnestly invoking Coh, the warrior of warriors." 

Does not this recall to mind the invocations of the two 
sisters, Isis and ISTike, in the book of Lamentations;' and in 
that of " Glorifying Osiris in Aquerti " ?^ 

As we are about to enter the funeral chamber, hallowed by 
the love of the sister-wife. Queen Moo, the beauty of the 
carvings on the zapote beam that forms the lintel of the 
doorway calls our attention. (Plates XXXVII. -XXXYIII.) 
Here is represented the antagonism of the brothers Aac 
and Coh, that led to tlie murder of the latter by the former. 

' Translation of Mr. Horrack. 
^ Translation of Mr. Picrret. 

Page 122. 

Plate XXXriI. 

Page 122. 



Carved in the lintel are the names of these personages, rep- 
resented by their totems — a leopard-head for Coh ; and a 
boar-head as well as a turtle for Aac, this word meaning 
both boar and turtle in Maya. Aac is pictured within the 
disk of the sun, his protective deity, which he worshipped, 
according to mural inscriptions at Uxmal. Full of anger 
he faces his brother. In his right hand there is a badge orna- 
mented with feathers and flowers. The threatening way 
in which this is held suggests a concealed weapon. Among 
the people of Tahiti, eloquent bards went to battle among the 
warriors, inciting them with glowing words ; those orators car- 
ried a bunch of green leaves which served to hide a dangerous 
weapon made from the bone of the sting-ray.^ A fell intent 
disguised beneath blossoms suggests the treacherous way in 
which Coh was slain. 

The face of Coh, also, expresses anger. With him is the 
feathered serpent, emblem of royalty, thence of the country, 
more often represented as a winged serpent protecting Coh. 
In his left hand he holds his weapons, down; while his 
right hand clasps his badge of authority, with which he 
covers his breast as if for protection, and demanding the 
respect due to his rank. 

So in Mayach as in Egypt, ^ and in every place Avhere 
Maya civilization has penetrated, Ave find the sun and the ser- 
pent inimical to each other. Are we to see in the Egyptian 
niA^th of Plorus (the sun) killing the serpent Aphophis, by 
piercing his head with a lance, a tradition of the hostility of the 
brothers Aac and Coh in Mayach ? Both belonged to the 

' Ellis (W.), Polynesian Eeseardies, vol. i., cliap. xi., p. 387. 
^ Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap, xiii., 
pp. 59, 144, 154. 


Can (serpent) dynasty. In Greece we find a reflection of the 
Egyptian myth in the fable of Apollo (the sun) killing the 
serpent Python. In the " Mahabharata " Krishna — that is, 


the god Vishnu in his eighth avatar — kills the serpent Anantha, 
the seven-headed, enemy of the gods, when he was wresthng 
with the goddess Parvati.^ 

During their captivity in Babylon, the Jews, among other 
legends of the Chaldees, learned the tradition of the enmitj'- 
between the woman and the serpent, that Hilkiah, the high- 
priest,^ introduced at the beginning of Genesis.^ The Chris- 
tians received it from the Jews; and to this day the Church 

' J. T. Wheeler, MahablMrata, vol. i., " Legends of Krishna." 
^ 2 Kings, chiip. xxii., verses 8-10 ; also 2 Chron., chap, xxxiv., verse 
15. See Appendix, note xvii. 
' Genesis, chap, ii., verse 15. 


of Eome always pictures the Virgin Mary with a serpent 
coiled at her feet. So, also, we see the Goddess Maya in 
Japan. She is represented standing on a rock, the name of 
which is symbolized by a dragon encircling it with its body, 
its head resting at her feet. In her hand she holds aloft a 
branch of the mangrove tree, bearing fruit. This is the totem, 
or name, of her family, Canchi. The mangrove tree and 
its fruit are called Canche in the Maya language; that is, 
"serpent wood," from the appearance of its contorted roots, 
that resemble snakes. It is well, in this connection, to 
remember that even at the time of the Spanish Conquest the 
Maya Empire was called Nolicaii, the great serpent, and 
also beb, the mulberry tree,^ and the authors of the Troano 
MS. and of the Cortesianus always represented the Maya 
Empire either as a tree rooted in the South American continent, 
or as a serpent — sometimes with, sometimes without, wings. In 
another work I have shown, when speaking of the relation of 
the tree and the serpent with the country in the middle of the 
land,' that Yuen-leao-fan, a very ancient commentator on the 
"Chou-King," says that han means the trunk of a tree, and 
tclii are the branches. 

Passing between the figures of armed chieftains sculptured 
on the jambs of the doorway, and seeming like sentinels guard- 
ing the entrance of the funeral K chamber, we notice one 
wearing a headdress similar to the / V crown of Lower Egypt, 
which formed part of the Pshent ^A\ of the Egyptian mon- 
archs. We step into the hallowed place with as much rever- 
ence as if the body of the dead hero still lay in state within 
its walls after being prepared for cremation. 

' Cogolludo, Iliit. de Tucathan, lib. i,, chap. i. 
^ A. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, etc., p. 127. 


Does not the memory of his life, of his exploits in war, of 
the bitter hatred of his brother Aac, of his death at the 
hand of the friend of his childhood, still hover there? So, 
also, that of the love of his sister-wife, M6o, who, we know, 
ordered the erection of this monument to perpetuate it; of his 
friends, who shed tears * for their companion ia pleasure, their 
brave leader in battle, and whose effigies supported the altar 
on which ofPerings were made to his manes ; of a whole nation 
that mourned the untimely end of their beloved ruler — he 
who brought glory, power, and happiness to the people ? In 
so saying, I am but the mouthpiece of the author of that 
celebrated Maya book, the Troano. 

' Troauo MS., part ii., plate xvi., lower compartment. 


It w-as with conflicting sentiments of awe and disgust that 
we contemplated the walls bj'' which we were surrounded. 
Many before us had visited this apartment, and, by inscribing 
their names, disfigured what remained of the fresco paintings 
that once covered those waUs from the plinth to the apex of 
the triangular arch forming the ceiling. Of these we saved, 
by making accurate tracings, all that was possible, noting the 
various colors in each part. The tints were stiU bright, 
some even brilliant. It seemed as if we had been transported to 
one of the royal tombs at Thebes, or to the cave temples in 
the island of Elephanta,^ only here the artists Avere less tram- 
melled by conventionalities in art. Their designs, freer, truer 
to nature, more correct in their delineations, particularly of 
the human body, show that the artists who executed them 
were masters in the art of drawing.^ Like the Egyptian, the 
Chaldee, and the Hindoo artists, the Mayas Avere little 

" Henry Grose, Voyage in the Bast Indies, cliap. vii., p. 95. See Ap- 
pendix, note xviii. 

' John L. Stephens, Incidents of Travels in Yucatan, vol. ii., p. 311. See 
Appendix, note xi. 


acquainted with the rules of perspective. Their landscapes 
were, therefore, defective.' 

The frescos in the funeral chamber of Prince Coh's Me- 
morial HaU, painted in water colors taken from the vegetable 
kingdom, are divided into a series of tableaux separated by 
blue lines. The plinths, the angles of the room, and the edges 
of the ceiling, being likewise painted blue, indicate that this 
was intended for a funeral chamber. We have already said that 
blue was the mourning color in Egypt, Chaldea, and many 
other places. The study of the tableaux proves that the his- 
tory they are meant to record must be read from right to left; 
and, in this instance, from below upward. 

The first scene represents Queen Moo when yet a child. 
She is seated on the back of a peccary, or American wild boar, 
under the royal umbrella of feathers, emblem of royalty in 
Mayach as it was in India, Chaldea, Egypt, and other places. 
She is consulting a H-nieii, or wise man ; listening with pro- 
found attention to the decrees of fate as revealed by the crack- 
ing of the shell of an armadillo exposed to a slow fire on a 
brazier, the condensing on it of the vapor, and the various 
tints it assumes. (Plate XXXIX.) 

This mode of divination is one of the customs of the 
Mayas that tends to show the influence of their civilization 
on Asiatic populations, even on that of the Chinese who seem 
to have adopted many Maya customs — unless it be again 
argued that they are mere coincidences : for instance, their 
mythical traditions of the Tchi, those children of Tien-Hoang, 
who had the hody of a serjjent, and lived in times anterior to 
Ti-Hoang, sovereign of the "country in the middle of the 

' William Osburn, Monumental History of Egypt, p. 360. See Appendix, 
note xi. 

Plate XXXIX. 


land," mentioned in the " Chou-King," that calls to mind the 
empire of the Mayas situated in the middle of the "Western 
Continent, whose contour was that of a serpent, whose sover- 
eigns were the Cans, or serpents; also the yellow color, prerog- 
ative of the royal family in China as in Mayach. Why have 
the Chinese a dragon on their imperial banner? Long, "the 
winged dragon," s&j the Chinese, is the being that excels in 
understanding. It is therefore among them the emblem of the 
god of intelligence, keeping watch over the tree of knowledge. 

Does not this "winged dragon" recall the "winged ser- 
pent," emblem of the Maya Empire, also figured as a tree; 
and was not that tree the site of ancient culture, civilization, 
and knowledge ? Again, on great and solemn state occasions, 
a precisely similar mode of consulting fate, by the emperor, to 
that pictured in the first tableau is still performed in China. 
It is called the ceremony of Pou, in which, instead of an arma- 
dillo, a turtle called Kuri is the victim. ' 

Returning to the description of the tableau: in front of 
the young queen Moo, and facing her, is seated the sooth- 
sayer, evidently a priest of high rank, judging from the col- 
ors, blue and j'ellow, of the feathers of his ceremonial mantle, 

' In the fourth chapter, entitled "Hong-Pan," of the fourth part of the 
Chou-King, at the seventh paragraph, Sloka 20, we read : "In all dubious 
cases the king selects an officer wliose duty it is to consult fate. When in- 
stalled in office he examines Pou." 

Sloka 31 : "This examination comprehends : 1st, the vapor in form of 
dew ; 2d, the vapor when it vanislies in the air ; 3d, the color, dark or dull, 
of the shell ; 4th, the isolated cracks on the shell ; 5th, the cracks that cross 
each other, and those that are joined together." 

They believed tliat by these means they consulted the spirits Kuei, and 
only used this mode of divination when the knowledge sought could not 
be otherwise obtained, and was of great moment. It is well to notice that 
the name Ku-ei, given to the spirits by the Chinese, is identical with Ku 
" the Supreme Intelligence," among the Mayas and Egyptians. 


and as behooves the dignity of the consulter; he reads the 
decrees of fate on the shell of the armadillo, and the scroll 
issuing from his throat says what they are. By him stands 
the winged serpent, emblem and protective genius of the 
Maya Empire. His head is turned toward the royal banner, 
which he seems to caress; his satisfaction is reflected in the 
mild and pleased expression of his face. Behind the priest, 
the position of whose hand is the same as that of Catholic 
priests in blessing their congregation, and the significance of 
which is well known to occultists, are the ladies-in-waiting 
of the young queen. 

I forbear now to read the meaning of the scroll, because its 
colors are here wanting; otherwise it would be an easy matter, 
knowing as I do the history of the lady, the import of the colors 
among the Mayas, and that of the shape of the lines forming 
the scrolls — image of speech in their paintings and sculpture. 

In another tableau (Plate XL.) we again see Queen Moo, no 
longer a child, but a comely young woman. She is not seated 
under the royal umbrella or banner, but she is once more in 
the presence of the H-nieii, whose face is concealed b}^ a mask 
representing an oavI's head. 

She, pretty and coquettish, has many admirers who vie with 
each other for the honor of her hand. In company with one 
of her wooers she comes to consult the jiriest, accompanied by 
an old lady, her grandmother probably, and her female attend- 
ants. According to custom the old lad}' is the spokeswoman. 
She states to the priest that the young man, he who sits on a 
low stool between the two female attendants, desires to marry 
the queen. The priest's attendant, seated also on a stool, back 
of all, acts as crier, and repeats in a loud voice the speech of 
the old lady. 

Page, ISO. 

Plats XL. 

PagR 131. 

Plain XLI. 


The young queen refuses the offer. The refusal is indicated 
by the direction of the scroll issuing from her mouth. It is 
turned backward, instead of forward toward the priest as 
would be the case if she assented to the marriage. 

The H-men explains that Moo, being a daughter of the 
royal family, by law and custom must marry one of her 
brothers.' The youth listens to the decision with due respect 
for the priest, as shown by his arm being placed across his 
breast, the left hand resting on the right shoulder. He does 
not accept the refusal in a meek spirit, however. His clinched 
fist, his foot raised, as if in the act of stamping, betoken anger 
and disappointment, while the attendant behind him expostu- 
lates, counselling patience and resignation, judging by the posi- 
tion and expression of her extended left hand, palm upward. 

Herodotus tells us' "that the Egyptians observed the cus- 
toms of their ancestors and did not adopt new ones." Among 
them there were two tokens of respect used by inferiors in 
the presence of their superiors. They are remarkable enough 
to arrest the attention of any one inquiring into their manners 
and customs. 

One consisted in placing an arm across the chest, the hand 
resting on the opposite shoulder; the other, in putting the 
forearm, the right generallj'', across the chest — the hand, with 
closed fingers, being over the heart.' (Plate XLI.) 

' It was the law among the Mayas, that, in order to preserve the royal 
blood from admixture and contamination, the girls should marry their 
brothers. Tlie same custom obtained in Egypt, Chaldea, Greece, and 
many other places from the remotest antiquity. The gods even observed 
the practice. AVe are told that Jupiter married his sister Juno. In Peru 
and other countries of the Western Continent, royal brothers wedded their 
royal sisters. 

° Herodotus, Hist., lib. ii., Ixxix. 

' Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, illust. 


From the remotest antiquity, if we are to judge by the 
fresco paintings in the funeral chamber and the illustrations in 
the Troano MS., the same marks of respect obtained among 
the Mayas, and were in vogue still at the time of the conquest 
of Yucatan by the Spaniards, according to Father CogoUudo.' 
The Mayas usually placed the left arm across the chest, letting 
the left hand rest on the right shoulder. 

The natives of Yucatan, British Honduras, Peten, and the 
countries bordering on Guatemala still use these signs, among 
themselves, when their white neighbors are not present. (Plates 
XLII.-XLIII.) Before their white superiors they either stand 
erect, hat in hand, their arms hanging by their sides, as is 
customary with soldiers in presence of their officers; or with 
both arms crossed over their chest. 

Can this similarity of signs of respect, common to both 
Mayas and Egyptians, be a simple coincidence? If so, then 
what of the identity of the dress of the Egyptian and the Maya 
laborers ; ^ of the gifts of cloaks to the victors in athletic 
games in Egypt ' and Mayach ; * of the great respect professed 
for their elders by the Egyptians ' and the Mayas ; ' of their 
carrying children astride the hip ; ' of their hatred of for- 
eigners ; ^ of the year beginning on about the same daj^ (cor- 
responding to the middle of our month of July) in Egypt as 

' Diego de CogoUudo, Hist, de Yucathan, lib. ix., cap. viii., p. 489. 

' Wilkinson, Manners and Ciistoms, etc., vol. ii., chap, x., p. 323. Hero- 
dotus, Hist., lib. ii., Ixxxi. 

^ Ibid., xci. 

■■ Herrera. 

° Herodotus, Hist, lib. ii., Ixxx. 

" Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, J xxx., p. 178. 

' Ibid., I XX., p. 112. Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. ii., p. 334. 
Appendix, note xvi. 

" Herodotus, lib. ii., xli., xci. 

Page. 132. 

Plate. XLII. 

Page 132 

Plate. XLIII. 

T ■ 

Page 133. 

Plate XLIV. 



in Mayacli ; ' and of many other customs, the list of which is 
too long to be enumerated in these pages — are these also coin- 
cidences? But if they are not, what then? The Egyptians 
invariably following the habits of their ancestors, must we 
infer that they and the Mayas had a common ancestry ? 

In another tableau (Plate XLIV.) we see the same individual 
whose offer of marriage was rejected by the young queen, in 
consultation with a Nubchi, or prophet, a priest whose exalted 
rank is indicated by his headdress, and the triple breastplate he 
wears over his mantle of feathers. The consulter, evidently a 
personage of importance, has come attended by his haclietail, 
or confidential friend, who sits behind him on a cushion. The 
expression on the face of said consulter shows that he does 
not accept patiently the decrees of fate, although conveyed by 
the interpreter in as conciliatory manner as possible. The 
adverse decision of the gods is manifested by the sharp pro- 
jecting centre part of the scroll, but it is wrapped in words as 
persuasive and consoling, preceded by as smooth a preamble as 
the rich and beautiful Maya language permits and makes easy. 

His friend is addressing the prophet's assistant. Reflecting 
the thoughts of his lord, he declares that the NubcM's fine 
discourse and his pretended reading of the will of the gods 
are all nonsense, and exclaims " Pshaw! " which contemptuous 
exclamation is pictured by the yellow scroll, pointed at both 
ends, escaping from his nose like a sneeze. The answer of the 
priest's assistant, evidenced by the gra^-ity of his features, the 
assertive position of his hand, and the bluntness of his speech, 
is evidently, " It is so! " 

Should you ask occultists why the feet of the consulter and 

' Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, § xxxix., p. 236. Wilkinson, Manners 
and Customs, vol. iil., chap, xiii , p. 107. Champollion Pigeac, D Univers. 
Egypte, p. 236. See Appendix, note xvi. 


of the prophet are in such close contax3t, they would tell you 
that it is to establish and maintain the magnetic rapport 
between them. 

In another tableau (Plate XLV.) we see a third, a youthful, 
admirer of Queen M<io. His name is Citam (peccary). He 
also desires to peer into futurity. His headdress shows him to 
belong to the nobility. In fact, he has been Moo's companion 
of infancy, and accompanied her when she went to the H-men 
to consult the Pou. He comes naked, in humility, to ask the 
aruspice to consult Fate on the motion of the entrails of a 
peccary. The interpreter of the decrees of destiny points out 
to him the working of the intestines of the animal, which he 
has cut open with his sacrificial adze. Judging from the 
expression on his face, the future shows itself full of tribula- 
tions. The young man listens with sad and respectful attention 
to the words of the aruspice. He will submit to the inevita- 
ble. He will always be Queen Moo's stanch friend in her 
days of happiness, never forsaking her in those of adversity. 

Not so, however, her brother Aac, Avho is madly in love 
with her. In Plate XLYI. he is not portrayed approaching the 
interpreter of the will of the gods divested of his garments, in 
token of humility in presence of their majesty and of submission 
to their decrees. He comes fuU. of arrogance, arrayed in gor- 
geous attire, and with regal pomp. He comes not as a suppli- 
cant, to ask and accept counsel; but, haughty, he makes bold to 
dictate. He is angered at the refusal of the priest to accede 
to his demand for his sister Moo's hand, to whose totem, an 
armadillo on this occasion, he points iraperioush'. It was on 
an armadillo's shell that the Fates wrote her destinj"- when con- 
sulted by the performance of the Pou ceremony. The yellow 
flames of wrath darting from all over his person, the sharp yel- 

Page 134. 

Plate XLV. 

Page 134. 

Plate XL VI. 

Page 135. 

Plate XLVII. 


low scroll issuing from his mouth, symbolize Aac's feelings. 
The pontiff, however, is unmoved by them. In the name of 
the gods, with serene mien, he denies the request of the proud 
nobleman, as his speech indicates. The winged serpent, genius 
of the country, that stands erect and ireful by Aac, is also 
wroth at his pretensions, and shows in its features and by 
sending its dart through Aac's royal banner, a decided oppo- 
sition to them, expressed by the ends of his speech being 
turned backward, some of them terminating abruptly, others in 
sharp points. 

Prince Coli sits behind the priest, as one of his attendants. 
He witnesses the scene, hears the calm negative answer, sees 
the anger of his brother and rival, smiles at his impotence, is 
happy at his discomfiture. Behind him, however, sits a spy, 
who wiR repeat his words, report his actions to his enemy. 
He listens, he watches. 

The highpriest himself. Cay, their elder brother, sees the 
storm that is brewing behind the dissensions of Coh and 
Aac. He trembles at the thought of the misfortunes that 
will surely befall the dynasty of the Cans ; of the ruin and 
misery of the country that wiU certainly foUow. Divested of 
his priestly raiment, he comes nude and humble, as it is 
proper for men in presence of the gods, to ask their advice 
how best to avoid the impending calamities. The chief of the 
aruspices is in the act of reading their decrees on the palpitat- 
ing entrails of a fish (Cay). The sad expression on his face, 
that of humble resignation on that of the pontiff, of deferen- 
tial astonishment on that of the assistant, speak of the inevita- 
ble misfortunes that are to come in the near future. (Plate 

Could the history portrayed by these fresco paintings be 


given here in all its details, it would prove most interesting; but 
the limits assigned to this vs^ork do not allow it. Skipping, 
therefore, over several very curious tableaux, we shall consider 
the one in which Prince Coli is pictured at the head of his 
warriors (Plate XLYIII.) in the heat of battle, accompanied 
and overshadowed by the winged serpent as by an aegis. The 
genius of Mayach guards him, fights at his side, leads his 
followers to victory. 

This serpent is not the rattlesnake, covered with feathers 
(Kukvilcan), image of the rulers of the country. It is 
the winged serpent, whose dart is the South American conti- 
nent. It is the Nohocli Can, the great serpent, protective 
genius of Mayacli, as the ur«us, that " winged serpent " 
with inflated breast, represented standing erect on a sieve, was 
of Lower Egypt.* 

The sieve was in Egypt emblematic of power and dominion ; 
singular antithesis, indeed, which none of the learned Egyp- 
tologists have explained. Still the Egyptian priests never 
selected an object as symbol without good and sufficient rea- 
sons. These were made known to initiates only, in the seclu- 
sion of the temples.^ What could have induced them to choose, 
as emblem of domination and authority, an utensil used solely 
by slaves and menials, and place, standing erect upon it, the 
emblem of the genius of Lower Egypt, has never been accounted 
for in modern times. 

In the Maya language we again find the explanation of 
such seeming mystery. In it the word for sieve is 3Iayab. 

" Those who considev themselves authorities on Maya antiquities always 
confound these two serpents, and call them Kukulcau, although they are 
very distinct symbols. 

^ Clement of Alexandria, in Stromata 12, says : " It is requisite to hide 
in a mystery the wisdom spoken." He had been initiated in the mysteries. 

Fage 136. 

Plate XL VIII. 

Page 137. 

Plate XLIX. 


But Mayab, we are told, was in remote times one of the 
names of the Yucatan peninsula, given to it on account of the 
porosity of its soil, which ahows the water to filter through it 
as through a sieve, and gather, cool and pure, in pools and lakes, 
in the inmiense subterranean caves with which the country is 

Did, then, the wise men of Egypt select as symbol of their 
country the serpent with wings and an inflated breast, in 
remembrance of the birthplace of their ancestors; did they 
place it erect on a sieve to signify that the first settlers coming 
from Mayab (the sieve) conquered and dominated the former 
dwellers in the valley of the Nile ? 

Pursuing our study of the fresco paintings, we pass over 
interesting battle scenes, including one (Plate XLIX.) repre- 
senting a village ' invaded by the hosts of Prince Coh. The 
women and children flee for safety, carrying their most precious 
belongings. Their defenders have been defeated by the Mayas. 

Coll will return to his queen loaded with spoils that he will 
lay at her feet with his glory, which is also hers, and his love, 
Avhich she claims in return for hers. She loves him because he 
is brave and generous. The people idolize him because he gives 
fame, riches, and happiness to the nation. His warriors cher- 
ish him because, always foremost in battle, he leads them to 
triumph and conquest. 

We next see him in a terrible altercation with his brother 
Aac. The figures in that scene are nearly life size, but so 
much disfigured and broken as to make it impossible to obtain 

' This is evidently a Mexican village in the now state of Vera Cruz. 
The traveller who to-day goes by rail from the port of Vera Cruz to the City 
of Mexico sees, on his way, villages, the women of which come to offer for 
sale chirimoyas and other tropical fruits. In their features and dress they 
resemble those pictured here by the Maya artist. 


good tracings. Coh is portrayed without weapons, his fists 
clinched, looking menacingly at his foe, who holds three spears, 
typical of the three wounds he inflicted in his brother's back 
when he killed him treacherously. 

Coll is now laid out, being prepared for cremation. (Plate 
L.) His body has been opened under the ribs to extract the 
viscera and the heart, which, after being charred, are to be pre- 
served in a stone urn with cinnabar, where the writer found them 
in 1875. His sister-wife. Queen Moo, in sad contemplation of 
the remains of her beloved, ozil in Maya, and his second sister, 
Nik6 (the flower), kneeling at his feet, recall vividly the pic- 
ture of Isis (Mail) and her sister Nik6 lamenting over the 
body of their much loved brother Ozir-is. Coh's children and 
mother stand by him in affliction. One of the children, prob- 
ably the eldest, carries the band which is to be wrapped round 
the chest and waist to hide the gash made for the extraction of 
those parts regarded as vital organs, and which are to be pre- 
served and placed in the tomb with the statue of the deceased. 
Another, who seems to be a girl, holds in her hands and con- 
templates with sadness the brains of the dead hero. These 
are to be kept in a separate urn. The youngest child is pic- 
tured with the heart of his father in his right hand. He is 
crying. The grandmother conies last. All the figures in this 
tableau are represented naked or nearly so; for in Mayacli, as 
in India and Egypt, the presence of a dead body polluted those 
present, who had to submit to purification b)^ appropriate 
ceremonies.' The winged serpent, protective genius of the 

' " The presence of a corpse defiles those who come near it." — Manai-a- 
DliwrmorSastra, lib. v., Sloka 62. 

"He who has touched a corpse purifies himself by bathiug." — Ihid., lib. 
?., Sloka 85. 

"The death of a parent or relative causes one to become defiled." 

Page ISS. 

Plate L. 

Page 1S9. 

Plate LI. 


deceased, is pictured without a head. The ruler of the country 
has been slain. He is dead. The people are without a chief. 

With the customary rites Prince Coil's remains have been 
made to return to their primitive elements by means of the 
aH-purifying flame; the vital parts, in which intelligence and 
sensation were believed to have their seat, have been preserved 
incorruptible in separate urns, so that when the spirit of the 
departed warrior returns to earth to reanimate the stone image 
made in his likeness he will find> them ready, placed by it in 
his mausoleum. With due respect they have been entrusted to 
the care of mother earth. 

Queen M<So is now a widow. "What is to prevent her 
marrying my master, the powerful Prince Aac ? " So speaks 
the messenger who has brought to her house a basket of oranges ; 
golden apples whose acceptance would mean that of Prince Aac 
also, and constitute betrothal — a custom still existing among 
the natives of Yucatan.' (Plate LI.) No sooner has she 
dismissed this first messenger, who has left the basket of fruit 
on the ground outside of the house — a sign that she has refused 
it — than a second presents himself, and, with supplicating 
gestures, entreats the lady to accept the proffered love of his 
master, who is at the foot of the elevation on which stands her 
residence. Aac is dressed in the color peculiar to the royal 
family — yellow. He bows and lowers his weapons, in token of 
his submission, and that he places them at her command. The 
deformed figure of the messenger indicates the abjectness of 
his entreaties. It also shows that the wise men of Mayacli 
had studied the science of physiognomy, and had reached the 
conclusion that the moral qualities leave their imprint on the 
physical body. 

' See Appendix, note xix. 


Queen M6o, with outstretched hand, seems to protect the 
brazier and armadillo on whose shell the Fates wrote her des- 
tiny when consulted by the H-men in the ceremony of Pou. 
She refuses to listen to the proposal of Prince Aac, whose 
totem, a serpent, name of his dynasty, is pictured at the top 
of a tree, trying to charm a macaw, her own totem, perched 
higher up on another tree, symbol of her more exalted polit- 
ical position. Here, then, we Tiame looman, garden, fruit, mid a 
tempter wJiose title is Com, ^^serjpent,'''' an episode in ancient 
American history. 

It is this refusal to accept the fruit, not the acceptance of 
it as asserted by the highpriest Hilkiah in his book Genesis, 
that eventually brought dire calamities upon Queen Moo, caused 
the misfortunes of her people and the decline of the Maya civil- 
ization, occasioned by the dismemberment of the empire in 
consequence of intestine feuds and civil war that put an end to 
the Can dynasty, as we learn from the author of the Troano 
MS.' and the much distorted tradition that has reached us.^ 

Clinging to the tree on the top of which the macaw is 
perched, we see a monkey. His right arm is raised as if about 
to strike, or at least menacing, the second messenger, who 
addresses the queen. "What has the artist wished to indicate by 
introducing this monkey in this scene, by its attitude and its 
gestures? If, in consequence of events, Queen Moo became 
Queen Man in Egypt, or the goddess Isis, then the solution of 
the riddle is easy. Tliotli, the god of letters, the scribe of 
Osiris in Amenti, represented as a cynocephalus ape, was said 
to have been the preceptor of Isis and Osiris, therefore the 
protector of their youth. The presence here of this monkey, 

' Troano j\IS. , part ii., plate xvii. 

' Landa, Las Corns dc Yucatan. J v., p. 34. 


as protector of the widowed Queen Moo, would be naturally 

It is impossible to even conjecture the meaning of the group 
formed by a rattlesnake entwined to a tree, angrily facing an 
unknown animal resembling a kangaroo. This animal exists 
no longer in Yucatan. It is, therefore, difficult to surmise 
what or whom it is meant for, consequently to assign to him a 
role in this history. That he and the serpent Avere inimical is 
certain, since he seems to have been bitten by the latter, judg- 
ing from the drops of blood which cover his visage. 

If the events that followed the rejection of Prince Aac's 
love were also portrayed on the walls of the funeral chamber, 
as they probably were, that pictorial record is destroyed. 
For the knowledge of these we are indebted to the above-men- 
tioned Maya author, whose book, having happily escaped the 
iconoclastic hands of the fanatical friars that came to Mayach 
at the beginning of the Spanish Conquest, illumines the dark- 
ness which until now has hung over the ancient history of 
America and that of the builders of Chichen and Uxiiial. 

Aac's pride being humiliated, his love turned to hatred. 
His only wish henceforth was to usurp the supreme power, to 
wage war against the friend of his childhood. He made reli- 
gious disagreement the pretext. He proclaimed that the wor- 
ship of the sun was to be superior to that of the "winged 
serpent," genius of the country; also to that of the worship of 
ancestors, typified by the feathered serpent, with horns and a 
flame or halo on the head.* To avenge himself on the woman 
he had so much loved became the sole aim of his life. To 
gratify his desire for vengeance he resolved to plunge the 
country into ci^al war ; to sacrifice his friends, his own wel- 
■ Ubi iupra, plate vii. 


fare, that of the people, if necessary. Prompted by such evil 
passions, he put himself at the head of his own vassals and 
attacked those who had remained faithful to Queen M<io and 
to Prince Coh's memory. 

Here, then, we have the origin of the enmity between the 
woman and the serpent, to which we find allusion in Genesis ; 
and of that of the sun and the serpent, prevalent in all coun- 
tries where vestiges of Maya civilization are found. 

At first, Queen Moo'^ adherents successfully opposed her 
foes. The contending parties, forgetting in the strife that 
they were children of the same soil, blinded by their preju- 
dices, let their passions have the best of their reason. Fortune 
favored now one side, now the other. At last Queen Moo fell 
a prisoner in the hands of her enemy. • (Plate LII.) 

Let us hear what the author of the Troano says: "The 
people of Mayach, having been whipped into submission and 
cowed, no longing opposing much resistance, the lord seized 
her by the hair and, in common with others, caused her to 
suffer from blows. This happened on the ninth day of the 
tenth month of the year Kan ; " that is, on the seventh El>, 
of the month Yax, of the year Kan. 

" Being completely routed, she passed to the opposite sea- 
coast, toward the east. Seeking refuge, the queen went to the 
seacoast in the southern parts of the country, which had 
already suffered much injury. This event took place on the 
first day of the sixth month of the year Mulnc ; "" that is 
to say, on the tenth of the month Xul, in the year Mulnc, 
or eight months and twelve days after she had been made a 

" The northern part of the countxy being subjected, he con- 
' Troauo MS., part ii., jjlates xvi. aud xvii. 

Page US. 

Plate LII. 


quered the others one by one, and also those which had aided 
the queen, reunited the severed parts, and again made the 
country whole under his sway. This happened on the eighth 
day of the fourth month of the year Ix;" that is, on the 
third Iiuix, of the month Zoo, of the year Ix, or ten months 
and eight days after Queen Moo's departure for Ziuaan. 

An explanation of the illustrations accompanying the text 
of the Maya author may serve to show that we have correctly 
apprehended his narrative. 

Beginning with the picture on the right of the chapter, we 
see the queen on her knees, her hands joined as in supplication. 
Her foe holds her by the hair and kicks her. This explains 
sufficiently the text "he caused her to suffer from blows." 

Next she is portrayed as a bird, a macaw. Moo, with black 
plumage, typical of her misfortunes. Her leg is hanging ; the 
claw half open, as having just lost hold of the hindquarter of 
the deer — another symbol of the country. This is emblematic of 
her losing the last grasp on that part (the south) of the empire. 
The deer is severed in two, to show the political condition of 
the country divided into two factions. She is in full flight 
toward Zinaan, a figure of Avhich the bird holds in its beak. 
The line joining it to the deer indicates that the "West Indies 
were a dependency of the Maya Empire. The last picture rep- 
resents Aac carrying away triumphantly the country of which 
he is now sole master, whose several parts, reunited, are under 
his sway. We shall leave for another occasion the recital of 
the events that took place in Mayacli after Moo's depart- 
ure from the country, and follow her in her journey east- 
ward. Enough to say that Aac, left alone in the government, 
became so tyrannical that the people uprose against him 
and expelled him from the country. That event ended the 


Can dynasty, and brought about the dismemberment of the 

As far as our present knowledge of American records con- 
cerning Queen M6o goes, her history comes to an end with 
her flight to Zinaan. Not feeling safe in that country, she 
continued to travel toward the rising sun, in the hope of reach- 
ing some of the isles, remnants of the Land of Mu. It was 
known that that country, once the "pride of the sea," had 
greatly suffered in consequence of an awful cataclysm caused 
by earthquakes. She was weU aware that a few islands had 
escaped the general destruction, and remained above the waters 
the only vestiges of that place, once so populous and so rich 
that in their writings the Maya authors styled it "the Life," 
" the Glory of the Ocean," and of which, in his " Timaeus," ' 
Plato has given so glowing a description. In one night it had 
suddenly disappeared, engulfed by the waves, with the major- 
ity of its inhabitants, some time previous to the happening of 
the political events in Maya history which we have just related. 

To one of those islands Queen Moo resolved to go to seek 


' Plato, Dialogues, "Timseus," ii. 30. 


The occurrence of that dreadful cataclysm caused great 
commotion among the inhabitants of the countries on both 
sides of the Atlantic. They recorded it in the annals kept in 
the archives of their temples, and in other places Avhere its 
remembrance was most likely to be preserved for the knowl- 
edge of coming generations; and so it has lasted to our 

The existence of this land, and its destruction by earth- 
quakes and fire, then by submergence, is a mooted question 
among modern scientists. There are many who, disdaining 
to investigate the ancient American records, and affecting to 
regard as fabulous Plato's narrative and that of the Egyptian 
priests Psenophis and Sonchis to Solon, although these asserted 
that ' ' all that, has been Avritten down of old, and is preserved 
in our temples," prefer to invent hollow theories and to advance 
opinions having no firmer foundations than their own magistral 
i2}se dixit, and thus dispose of the question by a denial, little 
dreaming that, besides Plato's narrative, the records of the 

catastrophe are to be found, full of details, in the writings of 


four different Maya authors, in the Maya language. Each 
of these has written the relation in his own particular style, 
but all agree as to the date of the occurrence and the manner 
in which the destruction of the Atlantean land was effected. 
It may be that three of them had read each other's writings 
on that subject ; but as to the fourth, it can be safely presumed 
that he knew nothing of the works of those writers, all com- 
munications between his country and theirs having ceased to 
exist long before his time. 

One of these narratives, carved on stone in bas-relief, is 
preserved in the city of Chlctien. The slab on Avhich it is 
written forms the lintel of the door of the inner chamber at 
the southern end of the building called Akab-oib, " the a\vful, 
the tenebrous record." It is as intact to-day as when it came 
from the hand of the sculptor. (Plate LIII.) Not only did the 
Maya historians record the submergence of Mu in such a 
lasting manner, but the date of its occurrence became a new 
starting point for their chronological computations. From it 
they began a new era and reckoned the epochs of their his- 
tory, as the Christians do from the birth of Christ, and the 
Mohammedans from the Hegira or flight of Mohammed from 

They also arranged all their other computations on the base 
of 13, in memory of the thirteenth Chiieii, the day of the 
month in which the cataclysm occurred. So they made weeks 
of thirteen days ; weeks of years of four tunes thirteen, or fifty- 
two JQ&YB ; and their great cycle of thirteen times twenty, or 
two hundred and sixty years, as we are informed by Father 
Pedro Beltran.i 

The second narrative of the catacl3'sm is to be found in the 
' Pedro Beltran, xirte del Idioma Maya, uumeraciou p. 304. 

Page 146. 

Plate MIL 

Page W- 

Plate LIV. 


Troano MS., whose author has devoted several pages' of his 
interesting work to a minute description of the various phe- 
nomena attending the disaster. (Plate LI V.) Thus he recounts 
the closing scenes of the tragedy:^ "The year six Kan, 
on the eleventh Muliic, in the month Zac, there occurred 
terrible earthquakes, which continued without intermission 
until the thirteenth Chuen. The country of the hills of mud, 
the 'Land of Mu,' was sacrificed. Being twice upheaved, 
it suddenly disappeared during the night, the basin being 
continually shaken by volcanic forces. Being confined, these 
caused the land to sink and rise several times and in various 
places. At last the surface gave way, and the ten countries 
were torn asunder and scattered in fragments; unable to 
withstand the force of the seismic convulsions, they sank with 
their sixty-four millions of inhabitants, eight thousand and 
sixty years before the writing of this book." 

Does not this recital recall the story of the destruction of 
Atlantis told by Plato, and the division of the country by 
Poseidon into ten portions, assigning one to each of his ten 

Let us hope that no one will be so bold as to accuse Plato 
of having been in collusion with the author of the Troano MS. 

The third narrative of the destruction of the "Land of 
Mu "is by the author of that Maya book known to us as 
Codex Cortesianus. His style is more prolix, less terse, more 
symbolical than that of the writer of the Troano. His relation 
of the event reads as follows (Plates LV.-LYL): 

' Troano MS., part ii., plates ii. to v. 

' Ibid. , plate v. 

Have we not here the origin of that singular superstition that attributes 
ill luck to the number thirteen ? And is not this superstition a reminiscence 
of the cataclysm, that has come down to us through the lapse of centuries ? 


" By his strong will, Homen* caused the earth to tremble 
after sunset; and during the night, Mu, the country of the 
hiUs of mud, was submerged. 

" Mu, the life of the basin, was submerged by Homen 
during the night. 

" The place of the dead ruler is now lifeless; it moves no 
more, after having twice jumped from its foundations. The 
king of the deep, while forcing his way out, has shaken it up 
and down, has killed it, has submerged it. 

' ' Twice Mu jumped from its foundations. It was then 
sacrificed with fire. It burst while being shaken up and down 
violently by the earthquake. By kicking it, the wizard that 
makes all things move like a mass of worms sacrificed it that 
very night." 

From the fact that the Mayas changed their mode of com- 
putation,^ and began, as it were, a new era from the time of 
the submergence of the Land of Mu, it is evident that in 
reading their ancient history, in order to establish correct dates, 
it becomes necessary to know if the events related took place 
before or after the cataclysm. 

The commotion produced by that disaster seems to have 
been no less great among the populations bordering on the 
Mediterranean than among those inhabiting the Western Con- 
tinent. Plato teUs us that the Egyptians preserved a relation 
of it in the archives of their temples, asserting it was the 

' Homen was the overturner of mountains, the god of earthquakes, 
the wizard who made all things move like n mass of worms, the volcanic 
forces antliropomorphized and then deified. The Mayas deified all phe- 
nomena of nature and their causes, then represented them in the shape of 
human beings or animals. Their object was to keep for the initiates the 
secrets of their science. 

^ Landa, Las Cosasde Yucatan, chap, xxxix., p. 234. 

Page IJfl. 

Plate, LV. 


Page U7. 

Plate LVI. 


greatest deluge which had occurred -withm the memory of 
man. Their narrative tallies exactly with that of the Maya 
authors. From that time, they said, all their communications 
with the inhabitants of the Lands of the West had been 
interrupted, the sea having become an impassable barrier of 

As for the Greeks, they had good reasons for grieving at 
the loss of Mu, since, according to Egyptian records, thou- 
sands of their best warriors lost their lives by it. They cele- 
brated the festival of the Small Panatheneas, in commemora- 
tion of the victory gained by their ancestors, with the aid of 
Minerva, over the Atlanteans, when the latter tried to invade 
Greece after having conquered the other Mediterranean 
nations — those Uving on the coast of Libya as far as Egypt, and 
those dwelling on the European shores as far as Tyrrhania. 
After repelling the invaders the Greek warriors pursued them 
to their own homes; so they also fell victims to the wrath of 
Homen. In order to preserve the memory of the catastro- 
phe for the knowledge of future generations, they wrote an 
epic in the Maya language, which seems to have been at that 
time still prevalent among them. In it were described the 
geological and meteorological phenomena that took place and 
caused the wholesale destruction of the Land of Mu and its 
inhabitants. "When in the year 403 b.c, during the archonship 
of Euclid, the grammarians rearranged the Athenian alphabet 
in its present form, they adopted for the names of their letters 
words formed by the agglutination of the various vocables 
composing each line of said Maya epic. In this most interest- 
ing philological and historical fact will be found the reason 
why certain letters having the same value were placed apart, 
instead of juxtaposed as they naturally should be. What else 


could have induced Euclid and his collaborators, men of intel- 
ligence and learning, to separate the Epsilon from the Eta, 
the Theta from the Tau ? to place the Omikron in the middle 
and the Omega at the end of the alphabet ? 

In August, 1882, the writer published in the "Kevista de 
Merida," a daily paper of Merida, the capital of Yucatan, a 
Spanish translation of the Maya epic formed by the names of 
the letters of the Greek alphabet. He invited Maya schol- 
ars to review and correct it, in case any word had been mis- 
apprehended, as he was desirous to present his discovery to the 
scientific world. No correction was offered, although at the 
time it attracted the attention of students in a country where 
Spanish and Maya are the vernacular of the people — the 
Spanish that of the white inhabitants, the Maya that of the 
natives; all, however, speaking more or less Maya, a knowl- 
edge of it being necessary to hold intercourse with the latter, 
who absolutely refuse to even learn the Spanish, which they 
hate. That language perpetually revives the memory of the 
lost autonomy of their people ; of the long and cruel perse- 
cutions their race has suffered since 1540 at the hands of 
the Spanish invaders, the destroyers of their civilization, and 
at those of their descendants whose serfs they have become 
and remain, although called free in accordance with the 

The following translation may' be regarded as absolutely 
correct, being an English rendering of that published in Span- 
ish in Merida. 

' See Appendix, note iv. 




Mata Vocables with tiieie English Meaning. 





Heavy ; 

break ; 









Receive ; 





Depth; bottom; 








make edges ; 

whirlpool; to 





place ; 


With ; 





Extend ; 





All that which 
lives and moves ; 





Sediment ; 


break; open. 





Submerge ; 

go; walk; 

wliere ; place. 






Point; summit. 



Rise over; appear 






Whirlpool ; whirl ; 


place ; 




To place by little 
and little. 
















Maya Vocables with theib Eholish J/tetsisa. 




Where ; 


Abyss : 


Come; form; 


Mouth; aperture. 


Come out; 





basin ; valley. 





whirl ; 





cold; frozen; 

place ; 





Freely Translated. 

Alpha. Heavily break — the — waters 

Beta. extending — over the — plains. 

Gamma. They — cover — the — land 

Delta. in low places where 

Epsilon. there are — obstructions, shores form and whirlpools 

Zeta. strike — tJie — earth 

Eta. with water. 

Theta. The — water spreads 

Iota. on all that lives and moves. 

Kappa. Sediments give way. 

Lambda. Submerged is — t?te — laud 

Mr. of Mu. 

Ni. The peaks — only 

Xi. appear above — the water. 

Omikron. Whirlwinds blow around 

Pi. by little and little, 

Riio. until comes 



Sigma. cold air. Before 

Tatj. where — eaistoi— valleys, 

Upsilon. Tuno, abysses, frozen tanks. In circular places 

Phi. clay — formed. 

Chi. a — mouth 

Psi. opens; vapors 

Omega. come forth — and volcanic sediments. 


"When Queen Moo reached the place where she hoped 
to find a refuge, she discovered that the Land of Mu had 
vanished. Not a vestige of it was to be seen, except the 
shoals and muddy waters mentioned by Herodotus, Plato, 
Scylax, Aristotle, and other ancient writers, who tell us that 
this made the ocean impassable to ships and prevented naviga- 
tion for many centuries after the cataclysm. 

It seems that Queen Moo, notwithstanding these obsta- 
cles, was able to continue her voyage eastward, and suc- 
ceeded in reaching Egypt. We find mention made of her 
on the monuments and in the papyri, always as Queen Mau 
(Mo6). She is, however, better Imown as the goddess Ids ; 
wearing vestments dyed with a variety of colors, imitating 
feather work,' like the plumage of the macaw, after which she 
was named in Mayach. Isis was, no doubt, a term of endear- 
ment applied to their beloved queen hj her followers and her 
new subjects. It seems to be a corruption or may be a dialect- 
ical pronunciation of the Maya word ioin (pronounced iclsin), 
the "little sister." 

' Sir Gardner "Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., p. 395. 

Page 155. 

Plate LYII. 

Page 155. 

Plate LVIII. 


"We have seen how, before leaving Mayach, Queen Mdo 
caused the erection of a memorial hall that she dedicated to 
the memory of Prince Coh, her brother and husband; and that 
in it she had the principal events of his and her life painted in 
bright colors on the walls of the funeral chamber. Not satisfied 
with this mark of her love, she had raised over his remains a 
mausoleum that would be an ornament to any of our modern 
cemeteries or public squares. (Plate LVII.) 

The four sides of the monument were ornamented with 
panels, on Avhich Avere sculptures in mezzo-relievo. (Plate 
LVIII.) That on the frieze represents a dying warrior on 
his back, his knees drawn up, the soles of his feet firmly 
planted on the ground. His head, covered with a helmet, 
is thrown backward. Prom his parted lijss the breath of 
life escapes in the shape of a slender flame.' His posture is, 
in fact, the same as that given by the Mayas, in those 
remote ages, to all the statues of their great personages; a 
position that represented the contour of the Maya Empire 
as nearly as the human body could be made to assume it. 
The upper part of the body in this case, instead of being 
erect, is pictured lying down, the head thrown back, emblem- 
atic of the chief of the nation being dead. In his right hand, 
placed upon his breast, he holds a broken sceptre, composed of 
three javelins, typical of the three wounds that caused his 
death, and of the weapons with which they were inflicted. 
One of the wounds was under the left shoulder-blade. The 
blow was aimed at the heart from behind, proving that the 
victim was treacherously murdered. The two others were in 
the lumbar region. These are indicated in the sculptures hj 
two small holes just above the waist-band of the kilt worn by 
' See Appendix, note xs. 


the warrior, and the image of a small arrowhead >, its point 
directed toward the left shoulder. His left arm is placed across 
his breast, the left hand resting on the right shoulder. This is 
a token of respect among the living, as we have already seen; 
but what can be its meaning when made to be assumed by the 
dead ? Does it signify that this is the attitude of humility in 
which the souls of the departed must appear before the judg- 
ment seat of Yum-cimil, the " god of death; " just as we see, 
in the Egyptian inscriptions and papyri, the souls when stand- 
ing before the throne of Osiris in Amenti, waiting to receive 
their sentence from his mouth ? This is very probable, for the 
same custom existed in Egypt. "The Egyptians," says Sir 
Gardner WiUdnson,' " placed the arms of the mummies 
extended along the side, the palms inward and resting on the 
thighs, or brought forward over the groin, sometimes even 
across the hreast; and occasionally one arm in the former, the 
other in the latter position. ' ' Mr. Champollion Figeac, speaking 
on the same subject, says: ^ " On croisait les mains des femmes 
sur leur ventre; les bras des hommes restaient pendants sur 
les cotes ; quelquef ois la main gauclie etait xylacee sur VejMide 
d/roite; ce hras faisait ainsi echarpe sur la pdtrine." The 
upper end of the sceptre is ornamented with an open dipetal- 
ous flower, with a half-opened bud in the centre of the corol. 
This is significant of the fact that the dead warrior was killed 
in the flower of life, before he had had tiine to reach maturity. 
The lower extremity of said sceptre is carved so as to represent 

' Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap, xvi., 
p. 486. 

' Champollion Figeac, L'univers, Egypte, p. 361. 

"The women's hands were crossed on the belly ; the men's arms re- 
mained hanging at the sides ; but sometimes the left hand was placed on 
the right shoulder, the arm across the chest. 

Page 157. 

Plate LIX. 

Page 157. 

Plate LX. 


a leopard's paw. This is intended for the name of the dead 
hero, Coll, or Chaacmol, "leopard." The etymon of the 
last word is: Chaac, "thunder," " tempest, " hence, "irre- 
sistible power; " and mol, "the paw of any carnivorous ani- 
mal." The leopard being the largest and fiercest of the beasts 
of prey inhabiting the forests of Yucatan and Central America, 
the Mayas, who, as we have said, named all things by ono- 
matopceia, called their most famous warrior Chaacmol ; that 
is, "the paw swift like thunder," " the paw Avith irresistible 
power like the tempest " — just as the French designate a noted 
general on the battle-field as " un aigle dans le combat," " un 
foudre de guerre." ' 

On the panels that adorned the architrave were carved two 
figures (Plate LIX.), the one a leopard, the other a macaw 
(Plate LX.), in the acting of licking or eating hearts. The first 
is the totem of the warrior to whose memory the mausoleum 
was erected ; the other that of his wife, Queen M<5o, by whose 
order it was constructed, and who dedicated it to the memory 
of her beloved brother and husband. Being portrayed in the 
act of licking the hearts of their enemies, whom they had 
vanquished on the battle-field, certainly indicates that the 
Mayas, although ordinarily not addicted to cannibalism, like 
many other nations of antiquity sometimes ate the hearts of 
their conquered foes, in the belief that by so doing they 
would inherit their valor. This same custom prevails even in 
our day among various peoples. 

The corona of the cornice is adorned with a row of human 
skulls. Not one is artificially deformed. Evidently the cus- 
tom of deforming the head was not practised by the ancient 
Mayas as it was by the inhabitants of the cities of Copan and 
' "An eagle in the battle," " a thunder in war." 


Palenque. These, therefore, could not have been Mayas as 
the majority of Americanists assert without adequate proofs. 
In fact, the sculptures at Chiclien show that the Mayas and 
the peoples that so deformed their heads, whoever they were, 
were inimical to each other. 

At the foot of the balustrades, on each side of the stairs 
leading to the top of the mausoleum, there were large serpent 
heads, with open mouth and protruding tongue. 

These serpent heads, we know, were totems of the Cans, 
used in aU edifices erected by them, to show that they were 
built by their order. The tongue protruding from the mouth 
was the symbol of wisdom among the Mayas. It is often 
found thus in the portraits of priests, kings, and other exalted 
personages supposed to be endowed with great wisdom.' It 
may, perhaps, have been also a token of respect, as it is even 
to-day in Thibet.^ (Plate LXI.) 

The mausoleum was crowned by a most interesting statue. 
It was that of a dying leopard with a human head (Plate LXII.), 
a veritable sphinx ; the prototype, may be, of the mysterious 
Egyptian Sphinx, the most ancient monument in the vaUe}^ of 
the Nile. This Maya sphinx, like the leopard in the sculp- 
tures, had three deep holes in its back — symbols of the three 
spear thrusts that caused Prince Coil's death. Thus it has 
come to the knowledge of succeeding generations that the 
brave Maya Avarrior, whom foes could not vanquish in fair 
fight, was treacherously slain \>y a cowardly assassin — this 
assassin his own brother Aac ; just as Osiris in Egypt is said 
to have been murdered by his brother Set, and for the same 
motive, jealous^^ 

' See Appendix, note xxi. 

" M. Hue, Recollections of a Journey through Thibet and Tartary, vol. ii., 
cbap. vi., p. 158. 

Page 158. 

Plate LXI. 

Page 158. 

Plata LXII. 


Osiris, in Egyptian history, comes to us as a myth. Prince 
Coh, the well-beloved Ozil, is a tangible reality; the author 
having in his possession his charred heart, part of which was 
analyzed, on September 25, 1880, by the late Professor Charles 
O. Thompson, at the request of Mr. Stephen Salisbury, now 
president' of the "American Antiquarian Society," of "Worces- 
ter, Mass. Besides, the author has also in his possession the 
very weapon with which the murder was committed. (Plate 

From aU antiquity the Egyptian Sphinx has been a riddle, 
that has remained unsolved to our day. (Plate LXIV.) It is 
still, as Bunsen says, the enigma of history.^ " The name most 
conspicuous on the tablet in the temple between the paws of this 
wonderful statue is that of Armais." According to Osburn, it 
Avas the work of King Khafra;' but he is stUl in doubt about 
it, for he adds: " On the other hand, the great enigma of the 
bearded giant Sphinx still remains unsolved. When and by 
whom was the colossal statue erected, and what was its signifi- 
cation ? . . . "We are accustomed to regard the Sphinx in 
Egypt as a portrait of the king, and generally, indeed, as that 
of a particular king whose features it is said to represent." In 
hieroglyphic written character, the sphinx is called Heh, "the 

But Kichard Lepsius^ remarks: "King Khafra was named 
in the inscription, but it does not seem reasonable thence to 
conclude that Khafra first caused the lion to be executed, as 

' Aug. Le Ploageon, Sacred Mysteries, certificate of analysis by Prof. 
Charles O. Thompson, pp. 84-85. 

' Bnnsen, EgypVs Place in VJiiversal History, vol. ii., p. 388. 

^ Osburn, Monumental History of Egypt, vol. ii., p. 319. 

* Ibid., vol. i., p. 311. 

' R. Lepsius, Letters from Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Peninsula of Sinai, 
Horner's translation, p. 66. 


another inscription teaches us King Khaf ra had already seen 
the monster, or, in other words, says that before him the 
statue already existed, the work of another Pharaoh. The 
names of Thotmes IV., of Kameses II., as well as that of 
Khafra, are inscribed on the base." 

Plinius, the first author who ever mentioned the Sphinx, 
refers to it as the tomb of Amasis.' 

Its age is unknown. De Kouge, in his " Six Premieres 
Dynasties," supposes it to be as old as the fourth dynasty; but 
it is probably coetaneous with, if not anterior to, the pyramids. 

As to its significance, Clement of Alexandria ^ simply teUs 
us that it was the emblem of the "union of force with pru- 
dence or wisdom; " that is, of physical and intellectual power, 
supposed attributes of Egyptian kings. 

Without pretending to emulate (Edipus, we may be per- 
mitted to call attention to certain striking analogies existing 
between the Egyptian Sphinx and the leopard with hmnan head 
that crowned Prince Coil's mausoleum. In order to better 
understand these analogies, it will be necessary to consider not 
only the meaning of the names of the Sphinx, but also its posi- 
tion relative to the horizon and to the edifices by which it is 

It is placed exactly in front, and to the east, of the second 
pyramid, overlooking the Nile toward the rising sun. It rep- 
resents a crouching lion, or may be a leopard, with a human 
head, hewn out of the solid rock. Piazzi Smyth ^ teUs us that 
' ' about the head and face, though nowhere else, there is much of 
the original statuary surface still, occasionally, painted duU red. " 

' Plinius, Hist. Nat., xxxvi. 17. 
" Clement of Alexandria, Strom, v, 

' Piazzi Smyth, Life and Work at the Great Pyramid, vol. i., chap, xii., 
p. 323. 

Page 159. 

Plate LXIII. 

Page 169. 

Plate LXir. 

i-fr^ j.-3*-"= - . 


The mausoleum of Prince Coh, in Cliicllen, stands in 
front and to the east of the Memorial Hall. The statue on the 
top was that of a leopard with human head. (Plate LXII.) 
The color of the Mayas was red brown, judging from the fresco 
paintings in the funeral chamber, and Landa teUs us ^ that even 
to the time of the Spanish Conquest they were in the habit of 
.covering their face and body with red pigment. 

According to Henry Brugsch: ^ '' To the north of this huge 
form lay the temple of the goddess Isis; another, dedicated to 
the god Osiris, had its place on the southern side; a third tem- 
ple was dedicated to the Sphinx. The inscription on the stone 
speaks as follows of these temples: He, the living Hor, king 
of the upper and lower country, Khufu, he, the dispenser of 
life, founded a temple to the goddess Isis, the queen of the pyr- 
amid; beside the god's house of the Sphinx, northwest from 
the god's house and the town of Osiris, the lord of the place 
of the dead. ' ' 

The Sphinx being thus placed between temples dedicated to 
Isis and to Osiris, by their son Hor, would seem to indicate that 
the personage represented by it was closely allied to both these 

Another inscription shows that it was especially consecrated 
to the god Ea-Atum, or the " Sun in the West; '•' thus con- 
necting said personage with the " lands toward the setting 
sun," with " the place of the dead," with the country whence 
came the ancestors of the Egyptians, where they believed they 
returned after the death of the physical body, to appear in the 
presence of Osiris seated on his throne in the midst of the 
waters, to be judged by him for their actions while on earth. 

'Landa, Las Gosas de Yucatan, ? xx., p. 114, and xxxi., p. 184. 
' Henry Brugsch, History of Egypt under the Pharaohs, vol. i., p. 80, 
Seymour and Smith's translation. 



Mr. Samuel Birch, in a note in the work of Sir Gardner 
Wilkinson, "Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyp- 
tians,'" says "that the Sphinx was called Ha or Akar.'''' 
These words mean respectively, in the Maya language, 
"wafer," and "pond" or "swamp." In these names may 
we not see a hint that the king represented by the huge statue 
dwelt in countries surrounded by water ? Its position, again, 
with the head turned toward the east, its back to the west, 
may not be without significance. Might it not mean that the 
people who sculptured it travelled from the West toward the 
East? from the Western Continent where Isis was queen, 
when she abandoned the land of her birth and saUied forth, 
with her followers, in search of a new home ? 

May not that lion or leopard with 
a human head be the totem of some 
famous personage in the mother coun- 
try, closely related to Queen Moo, 
highly venerated by her and her peo- 
ple, whose memory she wished to per- 
petuate in the land of her adoption and 
among coming generations ? 

Was it the totem of Prince Coli ? 
We have seen in Mayacli, on the 
entablature of the Memorial Hall, and in 
the sculptures that adorned his mauso- 
leum at Cliichen, that he was repre- 
sented as a leopard. But in Egj'pt, 
Osiris, as king of the Amenti, king of the West, was lUcewise 

priest of osiris, covered witu 
leopard's skin. 

portrayed as a leopard, 


His priests always wore 

' Samuel Birch, Sir Gardner Williiuson, JIanners and Customs, note, 
vol. iii., chap. xiv. 


a leopard skin over their ceremonial dress, and a leopard 
skin hung always near his images or statues. In seeking to 
explain the meaning of the names inscribed at the base of the 
Sphinx, we will again make use of the Maya language, which 
maj^ be for us, in this instance also, the thread of Ariadne that 
will guide us out of this more than d^dalian labyrinth. 

Henry Brugsch again tells us: " The Sphinx is called in the 
text Hu, a word which designates the man-headed lion, while 
the real name of the god represented by the Sphinx was Sor- 
makhu, that is to say, ' Horus on the horizon. ' It was also called 
Khepra, ' Horus in his resting place on the horizon where the 
sun goes to rest. ' " ^ 

Herodotus says ^ that Horus was the last of the gods who 
governed the Egyptians before the reign of Menes, the first of 
their terrestrial kings. He came into the world soon after the 
death of his father, being the youngest son of Isis and Osiris; 
and he stood forth as his avenger, combating Set and defend- 
ing his mother against him. 

According to the Maya language Hormakhu is a word 
composed of three Maya primitives — Hool-ma-kvi : that 
is, hool, "head," "leader;" ma, "country," or ma, rad- 
ical of Mayach, that becomes sjoicopated by losing the desi- 
nence yachin forming the compound name; and ku, "god." 
Hormakhu would then mean " the God chief in Mayach." 
It is well to remember that the Maya inscriptions and other 
writings were read, as generally were the Egyptian 
and many other ancient languages, from right to left. 
That Ma stands for Mayach in this instance, there 
seems to be no doubt, since the sign \ , which is the shape 

' Henry Brugsch, History of Egypt, vol. ii., p. 464. 
' Herodotus, History, lib. ii., 144. 


of the peninsula of Yucatan, forms part of the hieroglyph rep- 
resenting the name of the Sphinx. Had not this been the 
intended meaning, the hierogrammatists would no doubt have 
made use of some other of the various signs with which they 
represented the Latin letter M. "We must not lose sight of the 
fact that hiero- ^ graphic writings were mostly pictorial. 
Besides, the sign ^^^^> tJie " sun resting on the western hori- 
zon," makes it evident that the hieroglyph M was 
intended to represent a country, having similar geographical 
contour, situated in the regions where the sun sets ; that is, the 
West. The Mayas made use of the same sign to designate 
regions situated toward the setting sun.' 

KJiepra would read in Maya Keb-la. Keb means "to 
incline; " La is the eternal "truth," the god, hence the sun. 
Ketola or Khejpra is therefore the sun inclined on the horizon. 

As to the name IIu, used in the texts to designate the 
Sphinx, it may be a contraction of the Maya liiil, an 
"arrow," a "spear." 

The Greeks placed offensive weapons in the hands of some 
of their gods, as symbols of their attributes. So also the 
Egyptians. They represented Neith, Sati, or Khem holding 
a bow and arrows. To Horus they gave a spear, hul, with 
which he was said to have slain Set, his father's murderer. 
They represented him sometimes standing in a boat, piercing 
the head of Set swimming in the water.' Did they mean 
by this to indicate that the tragedy took place in a countrv 
surrounded by water, reached only by means of boats ? They 

' This sign forms part of the word Alau in the Troano MS., in part ii., 
plates ii. and iii. 

See Introduction, ubi supra, p. lix. 

= Plutarch, Be Yside et Osiride, ^ 25, 36. 


also figured Horus on the land, transfixing with a spear the 
head of a serpent (illustration, p. 124). 

Was, then, the serpent in Egypt one of the totems of 
Set, Osiris's murderer, as it was in Mayacli of Aac, Prince 
Coil's slayer ? 

ISTo doubt it was, since Osiris's worshippers were wont, at 
the celebration of his feast, to throw a rope into their assem- 
bly, to simulate a serpent, emblem of his murderer, and hack it 
to pieces, as if avenging the death of their god. Was this a 
reminiscence of the tragedy that occurred in the mother coimtry, 
where one member of the Can (serpent) family slew his brother ? 

From the portraits of his children, carved on the jambs of 
the door of Prince Coh's funeral chamber at Chiclien, we 
learn that his youngest son, a comely lad of about sixteen, was 
named Hul ; his totem, a spear-head, is sculptured above his 
head. Are not Hul, liu, Hor, Hoi, cognate words ? 

Elsewhere ^ I have endeavored to show, from the identity 
of their history, from that of their names, and from their 
totems, that Seb and Nut, and their children Osiris, Set, 
Aroens, Isis, and Nihe, worshipped as gods by the Egyptians, 
were the same personages known as King Canchi, his wife 
Zo3, and their five children Cay, Aac, Coh, M6o and Nik6, 
who lived and reigned in Mayacli, where, having received the 
honor of apotheosis, after their death, they had temples erected 
to their memory and divine homage paid them. 

Queen Moo, not finding vestiges of the land of Mu, went 
to Egypt, where we meet with traditions of her family troubles. 
There she became the goddess Isis, was worshipped throughout 
the land, her cult being superior even to that of Osiris.^ She 

' Aug. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 87, et passim. 
' Herodotus, Hist., lib. ii., 43, 59, 61. 


knew that, centuries before, Maya colonists, coming from 
India and from the banks of the Euphrates, had established 
themselves in the vaUey of the Nile. She naturally sought 
refuge among them. They received her vnth open arms, 
accepted her as their queen, and called her loin, "the little 
sister," an endearing vrord that in time became changed into 

Apuleius, in his " Metamorphosis," ' makes her say: " But 
the sun-illumined Ethiopians and the Egyptians, renowned for 
ancient lore, worshipping me with due ceremonies, caU. me by 
my real name Isis." Diodorus causes her to say:^ "'I am 
Isis, queen of the country, educated by Thoth, Mercury. What 
I have decreed, no one can annul. I am the eldest daughter of 
Saturn (Seb), the youngest of the gods. I am the sister and 
wife of King Osiris. I am the first who taught men the use of 
corn. I am the mother of Horus. ' " 

In the Book of the Dead Isis says: "I am the queen of 
these regions ; I was the first to reveal to mortals the mj^steries 
of wheat and corn. I am she who is risen in the constellation 
of the dog." ^ 

Was it she who, to perpetuate the memory of her husband 
among the coming generations in the land of her adoption, as 
she had done in the country of her birth, caused the Sphinx to 
be made in the likeness of that with which she had embellished 
the mausoleum of her beloved Coli in Chicllen ? There she 
had represented him as a djang leopard with a hmnan head, 
his back pierced with three spear wounds. In Egypt she fig- 
ured him also as a leopard with a human head ; but erect and 

'Apuleius, Metamorplwsis, lib. ii., 341. 

= Diodorus, Bihl. Hist., lib. i., 37. 

" BooTc of the Dead, chap, ex., verses 4-5. 

Page 1G6. 

Plate LXV. 


proud, a glorified soul watching over the country that had 
insured her safety, giving her a new home; over the people 
she loved, and who obeyed with reverence her smallest man- 
date, and after her death deified and worshipped her, calling 
her the "good mother of the gods and of men," as Maia 
was called by the Greeks, as Maya was by the Hindoos, and 
Mayaoel by the Mexicans. Did she entrust to her son Hul 
the supervision of the execution of the huge statue, that for 
this reason was named Hu in the texts ? 

Shall we answer with certainty in the negative these que- 
ries that force themselves on the mind, when we reflect on the 
influence of Maya customs and Maya civilization on the pop- 
ulations of Asia and Africa ; on the similarity of the names, 
and the striking analogy of the events in the lives of Isis and 
Osiris, and those of Queen Moo and Prince Coh ; particularly 
when, among other things, we consider the identity of the 
ancient hieratic Maya and Egyptian alphabets; that of the 
rites of initiation into the mysteries celebrated in the temples 
of Mayacli and Egypt,' and many other customs and tradi- 
tions that it is impossible to regard as mere coincidences, these 
being too numerous to be the effect of hazard ? 

Furthermore, we may take into consideration the latest 
discovery made by Col. G. E. Kaum, of San Francisco, in 
excavating the temple between the fore paws of the Sphinx, of 
the cap that once covered the head of the statue. This cap is 
painted red and adorned with three lotus stems and a serpent. 
Might not these indicate that the personage represented by 
the Sphinx came from a country situated in the midst of the 
waters, and belonged to the family of the Cans, serpents ? ^ 

' Aug. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 15, et passim. 
" New Torh Herald, March 30, 1896. 

Page 1G9. 

Plate LXVI. 


Note I. (Page xxviii.) 

(1) Diego de Landa, the second bishop of Yucatan, was a 
native of Cifuentes de Alcarria, in Spain. (Plate LXVI.) Born 
in 1524:, in the noble family of the Calderones, he at the age 
of seventeen, that is, in 1541, became a monk of the Order of 
St. Francis, in the Convent of San Juan de los Reyes, at Toledo. 
In August, 1549, being then twenty-five years old, he went to 
Yucatan as a missionary. He soon learned the language of 
the aborigines — Maya — under the tuition of Father Luis de 
ViUalpando, whose grammar of that tongue he revised and 
corrected. It was afterward published in the City of Mexico 
by Father Juan Coronel. 

From the time when Landa was able to understand the 
Maya language he dedicated his whole life to evangelical work, 
teaching Christianity to the natives, converting them to his 
faith. During thirty years, to the hour of his death, which 
occurred on the 29th of April, 1579, with the exception of the 



two years he passed in Spain, he lived among the Mayas. 
Whilst preaching the gospel he took care to study the customs, 
manners, mode of life, laws, institutions, religion, and tradi- 
tions of the people among whom he labored. He tells us, in 
his book, that their sciences, their history, and their religious 
tenets, with the rites and observances which they practised, 
were contained in volumes written in alphabetical and ideo- 
graphic characters on prepared deer-skin (parchment), or on 
paper made from the roots of certain trees. At the impulse of 
a misguided religious zeal, attributable, no doubt, to the ideas 
and prejudices prevalent in Spain in the sixteenth century, and 
to his eaiiy education, assuming the rights and prerogatives of 
an inquisitor, he ordered an auto-de-fe, which took place in 
the city of Mani, in the year 1561, in presence of the majority 
of the Spanish nobility resident in the country. It is to be 
regretted that, together with the bones of a number of human 
beings that he had disinterred for the occasion, many precious 
volumes, containing the history and traditions of the Mayas 
written in the characters in use among them at that time, and 
other valuable objects, were consigned to the flames. Landa 
himself, in his work, complacently gives a detailed account of 
all the documents and various other things he thus caused to 
be destroyed; stating emphatically, as if to aUay some secret 
pang of his conscience, that no human being was burned alive, 
although several individuals, fearing lest such horrid chastise- 
ment should be inflicted on them, hanged themselves, and their 
carcasses were scattered through the forests to become the prey 
of wild beasts and vultures. 

However, the historian owes Landa a debt of gratitude, 
since, in spite of his blind fanaticism, by a strange freak, and 
as if to atone for the wanton destruction of the precious histor- 


ical data, he has preserved, with the manners and customs of 
the aborigines, some of the alphabetical and ideographic char- 
acters used by the Maya hierogrammatists, together with their 
symbols for the names of days and months. These have served 
as a key to decipher some pages of the Troano MS., as well 
as some of the inscriptions painted on the walls of the apart- 
ments in the palaces at Kabah and other places. Whatever 
certain Americanists may say, there can be no doubt as to the 
genuineness of said characters and symbols, nor as to the good 
faith of Landa, whose mental blindness we can only pity and 


Note II. (Page xxix.) 

(4) Fray Diego Lopez de Cogolludo was a native of Alcala de 
Henares, Spain; I have been unable to obtain data concerning 
his family. The date of his birth and that of his death are 
unknown. Though always ready to bestow praise on each and 
every member of his Order, he is most reticent when speaking 
of himself. He seems to have been a man of superior intel- 
ligence, remarkably free-minded for his age and calling. From 
his " Historia de Yucathan," a great part of which is dedicated 
to the doings and sayings of his friends and associates in the 
evangelical labor of preaching the gospel and catechising the 
aborigines, we learn that he received the sacred orders in the 
Convent of St. Francis, in his native city, whence he came as 
missionary to Yucatan in 1634, being one of twenty -five monks 
brought to the country by Eev. Francisco Ximenes de Santa 
Maria. Father Juan Coronel, author of a Maya grammar 
published in Mexico, was his teacher of the Maya language. 
During the twenty -two years that elapsed from the time of 
his arrival until 1656, the last year mentioned in his work, he 
occupied many posts of importance in his Order. He visited 
the cities of Guatemala and Mexico, travelling on foot. "While 
he was Superior or Guardian of the Convent of Motiil, a great 
famine occurred in the country. The sufferings of the people 
are said to have been very severe, many dying of inanition. 
He also tells of a terrible epidemic, that, judging by the symp- 
toms, minutely described, was yellow fever of the most virulent 

Page 17-3. 

Plate LXVII. 

5> Ni 




^ 5M 


form. It began in 1648, and lasted two years, reducing the 
population of the country by one-half. CogoUudo wrote his 
work at intervals as his duties allowed him, while Superior of 
the Convent of Cacalchen. The MS. was sent to Spain, and 
published in Madrid in 1688 by Father Francisco de Ayeta, 
procurator-general of the Order of St. Francis for aU. the prov- 
inces of New Spain, having been granted a copyright by the 
king ; the printer was Juan Garcia Infanzon. Copies of this 
first edition are now extremely rare. (Plate LXVII.) 


Note III. (Page xxxi.) 

(1) The Troano MS. is one of the books written for the use of 
the Maya priests and noblemen. It is one of the few anal- 
tes that escaped destruction at the hands of the over-zealous 
missionaries who came to Yucatan even before the conquest of 
that country by the Spaniards. How it was saved from their 
iconoclastic fury, it is difficult to surmise; nor is it known who 
brought it to Spain. CogoUudo, describing these Maya books/ 
says: " They were composed of a scroll of paper ten or twelve 
varas (thirty to thirty-six feet) long, doubled up so as to form 
folds about eight inches (una pahna) wide, placed between two 
boards, beautifully ornamented, that served as cover." Landa 
tells us that^ " the paper was manufactured from the roots of 
certain trees, and that when spread in sheets, these were coated 
with a white and unalterable varnish on which one could easily 
write." The written space on each leaf of the Troano MS. 
measures five by nine inches. 

The learned Abbe Brasseur, returning from his expedition to 
Yucatan, passing through Madrid, made the acquaintance of 
Seiior Dn. Juan Tro y Ortelano, professor of paleography at the 
University of that city. That gentleman showed to Brasseur 
an old manuscript which he said was Mexican. The abbe at 
once recognized in it some of the characters of the Maya 
alphabet preserved by Landa. He asked, and was graciously 

' Cogolludo, Hist, de Yvcathan, lib. iv., chap, v., p. 185. 
'Landa, L<xs Uosas dc Yiiaitnn, chap, vii., p. •14. 


permitted, to make a copy of the document. The work was 
done by Mr. Henry Bourgeois, the artist who had accompanied 
Abbe Brasseur to Yucatan, and the task occupied two years and 
a half of the artist's time. It was published by the French 
Government under the title of "Manuscrit Troano," from the 
name of the owner of the original. 

This Maya manuscript is, indeed, a most precious docu- 
ment, for it is a brilliant light that, besides the monumental 
inscriptions, now illuminates the darkness which surrounds the 
history of the ancient inhabitants of the peninsula of Yuca- 
tan. The second part, after describing the events that took 
place during the awful cataclysms that caused the destruction 
of ten different countries, one of which, called Mu, Avas proba- 
bly Plato's Atlantis, is mostly dedicated to the recital of mete- 
orological and geological phenomena that occurred in the 
"Land of the Serpent," also called Beb (tree), of which 
Mayab formed a part. 


Note IV. (Pages xxxviii. and 150.) 

(1) "What bitter irony ! Every day, all over the land, some 
■workingmen in the haciendas (plantations), sirvientes as they 
are called, are pitilessly and arbitrarily flogged by their over- 
seers ; put in stocks during the night, so that their day's work 
may not be left undone, and otherwise cruelly punished for the 
smallest offence or oversight. True, we are told that there are 
laws printed in the codes that forbid such iniquitous treatment, 
and that those subjected to it can complain. Complain ! And 
to whom ? If they lay their grievances before the owner of 
the hacienda, their only redress is to receive a double ration of 
lashes for {su atrevimiento de quejarse) daring to complain. If 
they lodge a complaint before a Judge, as by law they have a 
right, he, of course, is the friend or relative of the planter. 
He himself may be a planter. On his own plantation he has 
servants Avho are treated in like manner. What remains for 
the poor devil to do but to endure and be resigned ? That is 
all. His fathers have suffered as he suffers, as his children ^^'ill 

These facts I do not report from hearsay, but fi'om actual 
personal observation. How many times have I ^vitnessed the 
whipping of some poor creature, for the most trifling cause, 
without being able to interfere in his behalf, knowing weU that 
such interference would be resented, and would entail on the 
victim a more severe punishment later on ! To a gentleman, a 
very stanch Catholic, who considered it a sin to fail to attend 


mass every morning, who had been educated in the colleges of 
Europe and of the United States, I was once making some 
observations on the bad treatment inflicted on the Indians in 
the plantations, which, though most Christianlike, was not- 
withstanding extremely barbarous, when he interrupted me by 
saying, "Well, they are accustomed to it. ' Al indio pan y 
palo ' (' For the Indian, bread and stick ') is the common 
saying throughout the country." 

Alas! for the poor Indian this saying is true only in part, 
for very little bread falls to his share, but abundance of lashes. 
Of course, those ill-treated people at times become exasperated 
— who would not ? They kill their overseers. Woe to them 
then ! for they are soon and surely made to remember that there 
are criminal laws, enacted by congress to punish such as they. 

During twelve years that I have dwelt amid the ruined 
cities of the ancient Mayas, in the depth of the forests of the 
Yucatan peninsula, I have had occasion to study the character 
of the Indians as weU. as the remains of the palaces and temples 
where, not so very long ago, their ancestors burned copal and 
incense in honor of their gods. I have found that the Indians, 
treated kindly, as every intelligent being, human or not human, 
should be, were generally as good as, if not better than, their 
white or inestizo countrymen. Of course, there are exceptions; 
these, however, are rare, and are to be found among those who 
have been brought up by some white or mestizo master. 

With Madame Le Plongeon, I have been altogether in their 
power for months at a time, in the midst of deep forests, far 
from any city or village, far from any inhabited place; I have 
invariably found them respectful, honest, polite, unobtrusive, 
patient, and brave. I cannot say as much for the mestizos in 
general; though among them, also, there are honorable excep- 


tions, unhappily not as numerous as might be desired. During 
my expeditions I have always preferred to be accompanied by 
Indians; I could trust them even in case of alarm from the 
hostile Indians of Chan Scmta Cruz. They knew that I had 
full confidence in them. I never had occasion to regret having 
relied on them. Of course, they have defects; but, Who has 

With Hon. Henry Fowler, who, when colonial secretary of 
the colony of British Honduras, in 1878, made an exploration 
in the uninhabited parts of the country, accompanied by half 
a dozen Indians and two American guides, I will say, " When 
the Indian is sober, he is always a gentleman." ^ 

During my last sojourn at Cliichen, in December, 1884, 
I had unearthed an altar sustained by fifteen atlantes of fine 
workmanship, and painted with bright colors. One of these 
particularly attracted the attention of some Indians who lived 
in the forest a few miles from the ancient city, perhaps be- 
cause the ornaments that adorned it appeared like the chasubles 
worn by Catholic priests when celebrating mass. They came 
to look at it several times. At last they begged me to give it 
to them, to carry to their village, notwithstanding its weight. 

" What do you want it for? " I inquired of them. " Oh," 
they answered, "we will build a house for it; we will burn 
wax candles and incense in its honor, and we shall worship it 
— it is so pretty! " they added. 

I then learned that in a cavern, in the depth of the forest, 
they venerated another ancient statue, which they called Zac- 
talali, that is, the ' ' blow or slap of a white man. ' ' But they 
would not show it to me unless I subscribed to certain condi- 

' Hon. Henry Fowler, Official Report of an Excursion in the Interior of 
British Honduras. (Belize.) 


tions, among others not to make known the place where it Avas 

The hnage represents a man with a long beard, kneeling, 
the hands raised to a level with the head, the palms upturned. 
On his back he carries a bag containing, according to the 
Indians, Bui y uah, a paste made of a mixture of corn and 
beans. It is now black with the smoke of wax candles and 
incense burnt before it by the worshippers. Before applying 
the lighted torch to the felled trees that are cut down to prepare 
the ground for sowing corn and beans, the devotees repair to 
Zactalali's sanctuary, and place before him calabashes filled 
with the refreshing beverage called Zacha, made from corn. 
They burn copal and wax candles, imploring him to cause the 
wood to burn weU.; which is for them most important, since 
on the more or less thorough burning of the trees depends the 
greater or lesser abundance of the crops. At the beginning of 
June, after the first showers of the rainy season, and before the 
sowing of the seeds, they again visit the cavern to implore 
the god to grant them a plentiful harvest and to prevent the 
animals of the forest from eating and destroying the crops. 
Having obtained these favors, at the time of the harvest the 
grateful worshippers again come to pay their homage to their 
beneficent deity. They come with their wives iand children, 
bringing the finest ears of corn, the ripest squashes, the primitias 
of the fields, besides roasted corn and various other offerings. 
They then kneel in the presence of the image, having previously 
presented their oblations and lighted a large number of wax 
candles. Soon the smoke of a mixture of incense and copal 
gathered from the trees in the forest, with ground roasted corn, 
fills the cavern ; and the devotees, to the accompaniment of a 
violin, a tiiiikul, a zacatan, and other musical instruments 


used by their forefathers in their ancient religious rites, chant 
some prayers of the Catholic Church. These they repeat over 
and over again, counting the beads of their rosaries. It is a 
strange medley of ancient and modern idolatry. But what 
matters it, since it makes them happy? And they have so 
few joys in their life. 


Note Y. (Pages xxxix., xl.) 

Eligio Ancona, " Historia de Yucatan," vol. i., p. 37. 

(3) Senor Dn. Eligio Ancona, who, in 1875, was governor 
of Yucatan when Madame Le Plongeon and I discovered and 
unearthed the statue of Prince Coh (Chaacmol), is a Yuca- 
tan writer well known in his country. Besides several his- 
torical novels of doubtful merit, and a history of Yucatan of 
no great value, he edited, at his own expense, after the death 
of the author, the Maya dictionary compiled in great part by 
Dn. Juan Pio Perez, a gentleman who applied himself to the 
study of things relating to the ancient history of the aborig- 
ines of his fatherland. Whatever may be said of the history of 
Yucatan, in four volumes, written by Seiior Ancona, and its 
worth respecting the events that have taken place since the 
Spanish conquest, I leave to others to decide. But when he 
attempts to write on the ancient history of the Mayas it may 
be confidently said that it is a fictitious production of his fan- 
ciful imagination, founded on the narratives of Bishop Landa, 
CogoUudo, Lizana, and others, with some extracts from the 
writings of Abbe Brasseur. 

(1) Bernardo de Lizana was born in 1581, at Ocafia, in the 
province of Toledo. He entered the Order of St. Francis 
in the convent of Ms native city. He came as a missionary to 
Yucatan in 1606, with eleven other monks, under the care of 
Father Diego de Castro. He learned with great perfection 
the Maya language, and was teacher of it for many years. 


He is said to have been one of the most clever preachers 
of his time. In his disposition he was very affable. Every- 
body loved him. During the twenty-five years of his resi- 
dence in Yucatan, he fiUed the highest posts of his Order, 
except that of Provincial. It is reported that after predicting 
the hour of his death, he passed from this life in 1631. 

Father Lizana wrote several works, aU valuable. They are 
to-day, if not all lost, very difficult to find. Cogolludo quotes 
from his " Devocionario de N* Senora de Itzamal, Historia 
de Tucathan y Su Conquista Espiritual. " Brasseur has pre- 
served a fragment entitled " Del principio y fundacion de 
estos Cuyos 6 Mules deste sitio y pueblo de Itzamal " in his 
translation of Landa's " Eelacion de las Cosas de Yucatan." 


Note VI. (Page 3.) 

(1) William Robertson, in the second edition (1794) of his 
work, "An Historical Disquisition concerning Ancient India" 
(page 292), says: "It may be considered as the general result 
of all the inquiries, reasonings, and calculations with respect to 
Indian astronomy, which have hitherto been made public, that 
the motion of the heavenly bodies, and more particularly their 
situation at the commencement of the different epochs to which 
the four sets of tables refer, are ascertained with great accu- 
racy; and that many of the elements of their calculations, 
especially for ver}' remote ages, are verified by an astonishing 
coincidence with the tables of the modern astronomy of 
Europe, when improved by the latest and most nice deduc- 
tions from the theory of gravitation. . . These conclu- 
sions are rendered particularly interesting by the evidence 
which they afford of an advancement in science unexampled 
in the history of rude nations." 

One of the astronomical tables referred to by Mr. Robert- 
son goes back to the year 3102 before the Christian era; that 
is, a century previous to the time when the Arj^^ans established 
their first settlements on the banks of the river Saras'wati, 
according to Mr. Adolphe Pictet (" Les Origines Indo-Euro- 
piennes "). At that time the Brahmins were not the powerful 
caste and corporation of learned philosophers which they 
became after the Aryans made themselves masters of Hindo- 
stan. That country was then under the sway of the highly 


civilized ISTdg^s. These were Maya colonists that, having 
settled in very remote ages in the Dekkan, by little and little 
had extended their dominion over the less cultured aborigines. 
The Brahmins, it is well known, borrowed their system of cos- 
mogony and acquired their knowledge of astronomy, as well 
as aU other sciences and the arts of civilization, from the 
Nagds, whom, afterward, they relentlessly persecuted. 

Again, Mr. Eobertson says (page 296): " It is accordingly 
for those very remote ages (about five thousand years distant 
from the present) that their astronomy is most accurate, and 
the nearer we come down to our own times, the more the con- 
formity of its results with ours diminishes. It seems reason- 
able to suppose that the time Avhen its rules are most accurate 
is the time when the observations were made on which these 
rules are founded. . . . The superior perfection of the 
Indian tables becomes always more conspicuous as we go far- 
ther back into antiquity. This shows, likewise, how difiicult 
it is to construct any astronomical tables which wiU agree 
with the state of the heavens for a period so remote from the 
time when the tables are constructed as four or five thousand 
years. It is only from astronomy in its most advanced state, 
such as it has attained in modern Europe, that such accurac}- is 
to be expected." Again (page 297): ""When an estimate is 
endeavored to be made of the geometrical skill necessary for 
the construction of the Indian tables and rules, it is found to 
be very considerable; and, besides the knowledge of elemen- 
tary geometry, it must have required plane and spherical trig- 
onometry, or something equivalent to them, together with 
certain methods of approximating to the values of geometrical 
magnitudes, which seem to rise very far above the elements 
of any of those sciences. Some of these last mark also very 


clearly that the places to which these tables are adapted must 
be situated between the tropics, because they are altogether 
inapplicable at a greater distance from the equator." And 
(page 298): "From this long induction, the conclusion which 
seems obviously to result is that the Indian astronomy is 
founded upon observations which were made at a very early 
period; and when we consider the exact agreement of the 
places which they assign to the sun and moon and other heav- 
enly bodies, at that epoch, with those deduced from the tables 
of De la Caille and Mayer, it strongly confirms the truth of 
the position which I have been endeavoring to establish con- 
cerning the early and high state of civihzation in India." 


Note VII. (Page 15.) 

(1) In Maya there are several words for " ocean," " sea " — 
aU conveying the idea of fiery or yellow liquid. To comprehend 
the motives that prompted those who applied these names to the 
element by which the planet is mostly covered would require 
a thorough acquaintance with the geological notions of the 
ancient Maya scientists. But when we reflect that names 
were generally given to objects by onomatopoeia, those of the 
sea may perhaps shadow such notions. A long dissertation on 
the subject would here be certainly out of place. I wiU there- 
fore content myself with giving the etymon of the words, 
leaving it to each reader to draw his own conclusions. By 
consulting Maya dictionaries we find the various words for 
"sea," " ocean," to be kanali, kaanab, kaknab, kankab. 

The first I have explained in the text, according to the 
monumental inscriptions and the characters in ancient Maya 
books, in which a serpent head invariably stands as symbol of 
the sea — the Mighty Serpent. 

The second, kaanab, is a word composed of two primi- 
tives — kaa, "bitter;" and nab, which has various meanings — 
"gold," "unction," "palm of the hand." In the countries 
of the Western Continent it was customary to anoint the kings 
by pouring over their heads and bodies gold-dust held in the 
palm of the hand.^ Is it a coincidence that the god, among 

' Pr. Pedro Simon, Koticias IlisiorUilcs de las Conquistas de Tierra Firme 
en el Nuevo lieino de Grenada. Apvd Kingsborough, vol. iii. 


the Assyrians, who presided over the unction of the kings, was 
called Naho ; and that Nub, in Egypt, was the surname of the 
god Set,'^ and Web meant lord? In our day Nabob is still the 
title for a viceroy in India. It also means a man of great 

In aftertimes gold was replaced by oil in the royal unc- 
tion, and by lustral water, poured from the pahn of the hand, 
in the ceremony of purification. 

The third word, kakiiab, is composed of two primitives 
— kak, " fire," and nab, " the pahn of the hand." Like the 
Egyptians, the Mayas figured the earth as an old man with 
his face turned toward the east, holding in his hand the spirit 
of life,^ Fire, the " soul of the universe," the primordial cause 
of all things, according to the Yajur-veda,^ and to all ancient 
philosophers whose maxim was Corpus est terra, aniraa est 

The Aryans, and all peoples allied to them, represented the 
earth as a woman and called it " Mother Earth," even as we do 
to-day. Would not this show that the Egyptians were not 
of Aryan stock as some Egyptologists pretend; but, on the 
other hand, that they were closely related to the Mayas ? — a 
fact which becomes more and more evident as we study deeper 
their traditions, their manners, and their customs, and com- 
pare more carefully their cosmogonic conceptions and astro- 
nomical notions. 

As to the fourth word, kankab, it is also composed of the 
two primitives, kaii, "yellow," andkab, "hand." It seems 

' Henry Brugsch, History of Egypt under the Pliaraohs, vol. i., pp. 312- 
236 ; vol. ii., pp. 120-246. 
' Webster's Dictionary. 

^ Codex Cortesianus, plates vii.-viii. See illustrations, plates Iv.-lvi. 
■■ Asiatic Mesearches, vol. viii., pp. 431-433. 


to have originated in the same personification of the earth as 
an old man, with a golden or fiery hand, a yellow hand. It is 
the same conception of the fire and the water allied to produce 
all things, that we see portrayed in the cosmogonic diagrams 
of the Mayas, the Hindoos, and the Chaldees. 


Note VIII. (Page 82.) 

(1) In his work " Lares and Penates," Mr. William Burck- 
hardt Barker, in Chapter IV., " On Certain Portraits of Huns 
and their Identity with the Extinct Paces in America," says:, 
" Mr. Abington's observations on this piece (55), a head of most 
monstrous form, in a conical cap, are of so remarkable a nature 
that I must be permitted to publish them here. . . . Mr. 
Abington says: 'This is the most extraordinary thing in the 
whole collection. On the first view I was struck with the 
identity of its strange profile Avith the figures sculptured upon 
the monuments and edifices of an extinct people in Central 
America. Many of Stephens's engravings represent the same 
faces exactly.' . . . Is it not a faithful and correct por- 
trait of a Hun ? . . . Hitherto the sculptures of Central 
America have only been wondered at, but not explained. 
Does not this head identify them with the Huns, and thereby 
let light in upon a dark mystery? . . . The following 
sketches of the sculptures in Central America, taken from 
Stephens's plates^ and the Quarterly Journal, will show that 
my notion of the matter is not a mere fancy. . . . 
Heads so very unusual, not to say unnatural, though found 
in such distant places, must surely have come from the same 
stock. . . . We have written descriptions of the inhuman 
appearance of the Huns who devastated the nation; but I 

' John L. Stephens, Incidents of Travels in Central America and Yucatan. 
(The author.) 


never met with any representation of them either pictorial or 
sculptured. Perhaps you have the gratification of first bring- 
ing before the world a true and exact representation of that once 
terrible but now forgotten race, and that, too, by an illustration 
probably unique ; also of removing the veil that has hitherto 
concealed the mysterious origin of the men who have left the 
memorial of their peculiar conformation upon the sculptured 
stones of America, but who have been long extinct." ^ . . . 
Up to here Mr. Barker. It is certain that the peoples who 
left images of their strange and hideous visages sculptured on 
the temples and palaces of Copan, Palenque, Manche, and other 
places in the countries watered by the river Uzumacinta and 
its confluents, did not belong to the Maya race. But it is 
equally certain that it would be most difficult, not to say impos- 
sible, to prove that they did to that of the Huns ; notwith- 
standing the fact that there exist abundant proofs of the 
presence in America, before and after the beginning of the 
Christian era, of Mongol or Tartar tribes, and that these have 
left their traces in many places of the "Western Continent.- 
These portraits sculptured on the temples of Palenque, Manche, 
etc., may very well be those of people from Tahiti and other 
islands of the Pacific, visited by the Mayas in the course of 
their voyages to India. It was customary with the inhabit- 
ants of certain of these islands to flatten the skulls of the 
infants of the warrior caste, in the shape of a wedge, to make 
them appear hideous when grown up, so tliat by their looks 
they might inspire terror in the hearts of their foes. 

' See, ubi supra, Plate XXIX. 

" Joliu Ranking, Historical Researches on the Conquest of Peru, Mexico, 
etc., hy the Mongols. 


Note IX. (Page 87.) 

(3) This same custom of making use of mercury for the 
preservation of corpses exists still in Thibet. C. F. Gordon 
Gumming (Mrs. Helen Hunt), in her interesting book " In the 
Himalayas and on the Indian Plains " (page 442), says: " We 
tried to exercise strong faith while recalling Hue's curious 
account of Tartar funerals, telling how, when a great chief 
dies, several of the finest young men and women of the tribe 
are made to swallow mercury till they suffocate, the supposi- 
tion being that those who thus die continue to look fresh after 
death." In a note she adds: "Quicksilver is believed to 
endow the body with power to resist death and avoid further 
transmigration. So Hindoo wizards prepare elixirs of mer- 
cury and powdered mica, Avhich are supposed to contain the 
very essence of the god Siva and one of his wives. ' ' 

We read in the "Travels of Marco Polo," published in 
Edinburgh by Hugh Murray (1844), that this ancient Italian 
traveller found this same custom, of using mercury for the 
preservation of corpses, existing in India and China when, in 
1250, he visited those countries. Father Hue also makes men- 
tion of it in his work, " KeooUections of a Journey through 
Tartary, Thibet, and China," and so does Bayard Taylor, 
Bishop Heber, and other modern travellers. 


Note X. (Page 88.) 

(1) Bishop Heber, in his "Narrative of a Journey through 
the Upper Provinces of India" (vol. i., p. 386 ; vol. ii., pp. 
430, 525, 530 ; vol. iii., pp. 48, 49), says "that at the city of 
Cairah in Guzerat, as in Greece, the statues have the white of 
the eyes made of ivory and silver. The statues of the gods 
are still painted with colors emblematic of their attributes. 
The gods Vishnu and Krishna are painted blue; Thoth, the 
god of wisdom and letters, red, etc." 

(2) Henry Layard, "Nineveh and its Remains" (vol. ii., 
part ii., chap, iii.), speaks of the painted sculptures discovered 
by him in Nineveh, Khorsabad, and other places; and in his 
work, " Nineveh and Babylon " (p. 276), he mentions the find- 
ing of statues with eyes made of ivory and glass. Diodorus 
Siculus (lib. ii., c. xx.) speaks of the figures of men and ani- 
mals painted on the walls of the palace of Semiramis in 
Babylon, and so also does Ezeldel (chap, xxii., verses 14, 15) 
and Smith, "Five Monarchies" (vol. i., pp. 450, 451). 

(3) Eusebius, " Prcep. et Demons. Evang." (lib. iii., chap. 
xi.), says that the Egyptians painted the statues of their gods. 
Kneph, Amen, Ha, Nilus, were painted blue. Set and Atuin 
were painted red. Sir Gardner Wilkinson, in " Manners and 
Customs of Ancient Egyptians" (vol. iii., chap, xiii., pp. 10, 
207), also says that the Egyptians painted the statues of their 
gods and of their kings, and provided them with eyes made of 
ivory or glass. 

(4) The Greeks colored their statues and provided thena with 


Note XI. (Pages 100, 127, 128.) 

(1) J. Talboys Wheeler informs us that the JVdgds were a 
tribe famous in the Kshatriya traditions, whose history is 
deeply interwoven with that of the Hindoos; that they wor- 
shipped the serpent as a national di^anity, and that they had 
adopted it as a national emblem.' From it they derived their 

The origin of the JVdgds is unknown to Indianists and other 
writers on the history of India. They agree, however, that 
they were strangers in the country, having established them- 
selves in the southern parts of Hindostan in times anterior to 
the war of the Pandavas and the Kauvaras; nay, anterior even 
to the epoch when the Aryan colonists from Bactria emi- 
grated to the Punjab and founded their first settlements on the 
banks of the Saraswati when this river still emptied itself into 
the Indus. They do not know whence they came, nor in Avhat 
part of the earth their mother country was situated. 

Conjectures are not wanting on that point. Because these 
JVdgds worshipped the serpent, some have presumed that they 
were a tribe of Scythians,^ whose race, Herodotus tells us, was 
said to have descended from a mythical being, half-woman, 
half -serpent, who bore three sons to Heracles.* "We will not 
now inquire into the origin of that myth. Looking into the 

' J. Talboys Wheeler, Hist, of India, vol. i., p. 146. 
' Ibid., p. 141. 

-' Herodotus, Hist., lib. iv. 9-10. 


land of fabulous speculations, we might as well imagine them 
to have been the descendants of that Emperor of Heaven, 
Tien-IIoang of Chinese mythology, who, the Chinese assert, 
had the head of a man and the body of a serpent, since 
they were regarded by the masses of Hindoos as semi-divine 

"We have seen in the early part of this book that the JVdgcis, 
having obtained a foothold in the Dekkan, founded a colony 
that in time became a large and powerful empire whose 
rulers governed the whole of Hindostan. They did not confine 
themselves to India; but pushed their conquests toward the 
Avest and northwest, extending their sway all over western 
Asia to the shores of the Mediterranean, introducing their civ- 
ilization in every ancient country, leaving traces of their wor- 
ship in almost every system of religion. 

Pundit Dayanand Saraswati, said to be the greatest Sans- 
critist of modern India, and the most versed in the lore and 
legends of Hindostan,' affirms that he has discovered the 
mother country of the JVdffcis to have been J*dtclla, the antip- 
odes; that is, Central America.^ If it be so, then the Kdgds 
were cdlonists from Mayacli ; and their civilization, their 

' H. P. Blavatsky, From the Caves and the Jungles of Hindostan, p. 63. 

'' Hid., Secret Doctrine, vol. i., pp. 27-35. 

Tlie Swami Vive Kananda, a learned Hindoo monk, when lecturing 
in New York on Yogi, the Vedanta, and the religious doctrines of India, in 
speaking with the author on the origin of the Nagds, assured him that it 
was the received opinion of the learned pundits of that country that they 
came originally from Pdt&la, the antipodes; that is, Central America. Pa- 
tala was tlie name given by the inhabitants of India to America in those 
remote times. It was also that of a seaport and great commercial empo- 
rium frequently visited by ancient Egyptians in their commercial intercourse 
with India. In his Perij^his maris Eri/thra'C, Arrian informs us that it was 
situated at the lower delta of the river Indus. Tatta is the modern name 
of the place. 


scientific attainments, their traditions, their religious concep- 
tions, must, of necessity, have been those of the Mayas. 

"Will any one object to the fact of a small colony of civilized 
immigrants establishing themselves in the midst of barbarous 
peoples, and growing, in the course of a few centuries, so as to 
form a vast and powerful empire, exercising great influence on 
the populations within its limits and even beyond ? To such 
objection it may be answered, History repeats itself. Without 
speaking of the origin of the great kingdoms whose history 
forms our ancient history, let us cast a glance at what happens 
round us. See what has occurred in the same countries within 
the last two hundred and fifty years. From Fort St. George 
and the small settlement called Madras, on the narrow strip six 
miles long and one mile deep, bought by the English in 1639, 
on the coast of Coromandel, in the peninsula of Dekkan, and 
for which they had to pay, as tribute, every year, the sum of 
twelve hundred pagodas, or about two thousand five hundred 
dollars, has not the East India Company by little and little, 
extended its domains, until in our day, after a lapse of only 
two centuries and a half, they have become the rich and 
mighty British Indian Empire, whose viceroys now rule part 
of the same territories conquered in olden times by the Nagds 
and governed by their Cans, or kings ? 

Are not the English to-day endeavoring to obtain a foot- 
hold in Afghanistan, Avhere, as we have already seen,' the 
names of cities and localities are identical with the names of 
villages and places in Yucatan, some of which are actually 
inhabited, others being in ruins ? For instance, Kabul is the 
name of the Afghan capital, and of the river on the banks of 
which it stands. It is likewise that of a celebrated mound in 

' See p. 27. 


the city of Izamal in Yucatan. On its summit once stood a 
temple dedicated to the "miraculous hand." It was famous 
throughout the land, even to the time of the Spanish Conquest. 
Father CogoRudo, in his "Historia de Yucathan," ' says: "To 
that temple they brought their dead and the sick. They 
called it kabul, 'the working hand,' and made great oflfer- 
ings. . . . The dead were recalled to life, and the sick 
were healed." 

The Nahuatls, who settled in the northwestern parts of the 
peninsula of Yucatan about the sixth century of the Christian 
era, used to offer at that temple human sacrifices to obtain from 
the god the benisons they sought. This fact we learn from a 
mezzo-relievo, in stucco, that adorned the frieze that ran round 
the temple. (Plate LXVIII.) It represents a man vrith 
Nahuatl features. His body is held in a posture that must 
have caused great suffering. His hands are secured in stocks ; 
his elbows rest on the edge of a hollow support; his emptied 
abdomen is propped by a small stool; his knees touch the 
ground, but his feet are raised and wedged by an implement; 
his intestines hang from his neck and shoulders; his heart is 
strapped to his thigh. 

It is much to be regretted that since the author took the 
photograph here reproduced, this figure, with its accompany- 
ing inscription, has been purposely destroyed by the owner 
of the premises, because he considered it an annoyance to 
have interested parties coming to see it. This is but one 
instance of that lack of appreciation manifested by the people 
of Yucatan regarding the interesting and historically important 
remains that make the Peninsula famous and attractive. It is 
lamentable that the Mexican Government authorities take no 
' Cogolludo, Hist, de Yucathan, lib. iv., chap. viii. 

Page 197. 

Plate LXVIII. 



steps toward compelling the preservation of ancient works of art, 
even in their deteriorated condition. The legend on the right, 
in front of the figure, translated verbatim, reads as follows: 


accepts; welcomes, 

noocol, lying face downward. 

oxnial, Uxmal. 

That on the back, over the figure: 
I I ta, this. 


UUD, doubled. 

That is: Ta ox uuo, u tern kam uucb noocol oxnial. 

Freely translated: ''The thrice hent Trum," "the altar wel- 
comes the cnished hody, lying face downward, of the man from 
TJxmal. ' ' 

It is well to notice that all the signs forming this legend are 


Egyptian as well as Maya ; that, therefore, any one able to 
read Egyptian inscriptions can, without difficulty, with the aid 
of a Maya dictionary, translate it as well as I. This proves 
that the ancient Maya hieratic alphabet discovered by me and 
published, in 1886, side by side with the Egjrptian, on page xii 
of the introduction of my book, " Sacred Mysteries among the 
Mayas and the Quiches," is a true key to the deciphering of 
some, at least, of the Maya mural inscriptions, notwithstand- 
ing the slanderous aspersions of Dr. Brinton, and his assertion 
on page 15 of his " Primer of Mayan Hieroglyphs " "that I 
have added nothing to corroborate the correctness of the inter- 
pretations." But may I ask why he has not verified them? 
Has he no Maya dictionaries ? The trouble with him is, judging 
from his own books, that he knows jpersonally nothing on the 
subject. Is he not utterly ignorant of the true meaning of a 
single Maya character, when in composition with other signs 
to form Avords and sentences ? Can he decipher one single sen- 
tence of the Maya books ? Does he even know Maya as 
spoken to-day ? How, then, does he dare to attack the knowl- 
edge of those who, by hard study during several years passed 
among people who speak nothing but Maya, have made them- 
selves familiar with the subject, and set himself up as an 
authority on what he does not know ? Let him not lose sight 
of the fact that we are no longer in those times when the peo- 
ple, as Bishop Synesius says (in " Calvit.," p. 515), wish abso- 
lutely to be deceived. To-day honest inquirers after knowledge 
object to being gulled by mere pretenders, even if these boast 
of the titles of doctor and professor in a universitj^. 

We know that the ancient Mayas were serpent worship- 
pers.' They worshipped the serpent, not that they believed it 
' Aug. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 109. 


to be wiser than, or intellectually superior to, any other ani- 
mal — they had too much good sense for that — but because it 
was the emblem of their country, the contour of which figures 
a serpent with an inflated breast, like the Egyptian ur£eus, for 
which reason they called it nohocli can, "the great ser- 
pent."* The serpent was the emblem of Mayach,^ as the 
eagle is that of the United States, the lion that of England, 
the bear that of Russia, the cock that of France, etc. 

Judging from their descendants in our day, the ancient 
Mayas must have been fanatical lovers of their country. The 
title of their rulers was can (serpent), as Tchan is to this day that 
of the kings of Tartary, Burmah, and other Asiatic countries ; 
as it was that of the Emperor of China even in the days of 
Marco Polo, and its emblem is yet a dragon. Like the Egyp- 
tian kings the Maya cans were initiates to the sacred mys- 
teries performed in the secrecy of their temples. 

No one has ever explained why the Asiatic rulers took 
upon themselves the title of khan, or adopted the serpent for 
an emblem as did the Egyptian kings. The Maya language 
offers a simple explanation. 

Can, "serpent," "king," by permutation becomes nac, 
the meaning of which is "crown," and also "throne," insig- 
nias of royalty. But the verb Naacal means "to be ele- 
vated," "to be raised." It was the title adopted by the 
initiates among the Mayas, corresponding to our modern 

' Cogolludo, Iliat. de Yucathan, lib. i., chap. i. 

^ Troano MS., part ii., plate xvii., | 3; plate xxvii., § 1. The tree was 
another emblem of Mayacli (Troano MS., part ii., plates viii. to xiii. ; 
Codex Gortesianus, plates vii. and viii.). It is well to recall here that Egypt 
was likewise called the Land of ike Tree, although the valley of the Nile was 
well-nigh devoid of trees. (Samuel Birch in Gardner Wilkinson, Customs, 
and Manners of Ancient Egyptians, vol. ill., chap, xiii., p. 300.) 


"His Highness," they being elevated above their fellow-men 
by their knowledge and superior wisdom. Transported to 
India the word became corrupted, in the course of time, into 
JVaaca or Ndgd. The title was kept by the initiates who were 
among the Maya colonists thalt settled in Dekkan and Bur- 
mah. They also preserved as emblem of their new nationality 
that of their mother country in the antipodes, and worshipped 
the serpent in remembrance of the home of their ancestors. 

Elsewhere I have shown that the title of the highpriest, 
chief of the adepts or naacals in Mayach, was Hach-mac, 
" the true, the very man." ' The title of the pontiff or chief 
of the Magi, in Chaldea, was Bdb-mag, or, according to the 
Maya, Liab-mac, the "old man; "' another of his titles was 
Nargal, Maya Naacal, Hindoo Nagd, "initiate," "adept." 

(2) John L. Stephens, "Incidents of Travels in Yucatan" 
(vol. ii., p. 311), speaking of these remarkable pictures, says: 
" The colors are green, yellow, red, blue, and a reddish brown, 
the last being invariably the color given to the human flesh. 
Wanting the various tints, the engraving, of course, gives 
only an imperfect idea of them, though even in outline they 
exhibit a freedom of touch which could only be the result of 
discipline and training under masters." 

(1) "William Osburn, in his ' ' Monumental History of 
Egypt" (p. 260), says: "By comparing together the remains 
of different epochs, it clearly appears that Egyptian art has 
had its periods of perfection, of decline, and of renaissance, just 
the same as art in Greece and Italy. But we have no trace 
whatever of such beginnings in these first productions of art in 
Egypt. It burst upon us at once in the flower of its highest 

' Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 30. 
= lUd., p. 45. 


perfection. Where, then, are the imperfect attempts which 
issued in this perfection to be found ? N"o such have been dis- 
covered, either at Ghizeh or in any other locality in Egypt, 
notwithstanding that no work of man perishes there. This 
circumstance compels us to assume that the skill of these primi- 
tive artists of Egjrpt was a portion of that civilization which its 
first settlers brought with them when they located themselves 
in the vaUey of the Nile." 


Note XII. (Page 105.) 

(1) Dr. Daniel G. Brinton, " Essays of an Americanist " (p. 
439), says: " I do not know of any measurements undertaken 
in Yucatan to ascertain the metrical standard employed by the 
ancient architects. It is true that Dr. Augustus Le Plongeon 
asserts positively that they knew and used the metric system, 
and that the metre and its divisions are the only dimensions 
that can be applied to the remains of the edifices. But apart 
from the eccentricity of this statement, I do not see from Dr. 
Le Plongeon' s own measurements that the metre is in any sense 
a common divisor for them." 

Abbe Brasseur is now dead — he cannot, therefore, refute 
Dr. Brinton's imputations; but I am still in the land of 
the living, and will speak for the learned Abbe and for 

The measurements that Dr. Brinton ignores to have been 
undertaken in Yucatan, I have made most carefully, as proved 
by my plans of the buildings and my restorations of the same. 
The exactness of these surveys can be vouched for by the offi- 
cers of ray escorts in the ruined cities, they having helped me 
in that work. 

Unlike some genuinely good things, the would-be critic's 
memory does not seem to improve with age. It is, indeed, a 
pity. AVhen he Avrote the lines just quoted he surely had for- 
gotten that, once upon a time, after the one visit with Avhich 
he has ever honored me, he statetl in the November (1SS."S) 


number of the American Antiquarian (page 378), under the 
heading " The Art of Ancient Yucatan: " 

"I recently passed an evening with Dr. and Mrs. Le Plongeon, who, 
after twelve years spent in exploring the ruined cities of Yucatan, and 
studying the ancient and modern Maya language and character, are pass- 
ing a few months in this country. The evening was passed in looking at 
photographs of the remains of architectural and plastic art, in examining 
tracings and squeezes from the walls of the buildings, in studying the accu- 
rate plans and measurements made by the doctor and his wife of those struc- 
tures, in reviewing a small but exceedingly choice collection of relics, and 
in listening to the doctor's explanation of the Maya hieroglyphic system. 
Whatever opinion one may entertain of the analogies the doctor thinks he has 
discovered hetween Maya culture and language and those of Asia and Africa, 
no one who, as I had the privilege of doing, goes over the actual product 
of his labors and those of his accomplished wife, can doubt the magnitude 
of his discoveries and the new and valuable liglit they tlirow upon ancient 
Maya civilization. They correct, in various instances, the hasty deduc- 
tions of Charnay, and they prove that buried under the tropical growth of 
tlie Yucatan forests still remain monuments of art that would surprise the 
world were they exhumed and rendered accessible to students." . . 

Compare this with his other statement. It would indeed 
be most interesting to know if it was envy or charity that thus 
caused him to alter his mind. He has never visited the ruined 
cities of Yucatan, unless it be in imagination. He has, there- 
fore, never made measurements of the buildings erected by 
the Mayas. How, then, can he know, of his own knowledge, 
which of our modern standards of lineal measures applies to 
them exactly ? This, however, I do know, not from hearsay, 
but from actual experience, that the metre is the only measure 
which, when applied to said buildings, leaves no fraction. 
How, then, does he, a mere closet archceologist, dare impute to 
eccentricity my statement to the ' ' American Antiquarian 
Society of "Worcester," made first in June, 1878, and reiterated 
in 1881, which reads: "I have adopted the metric standard 
of lineal measure, not from choice, but from necessity, and 


made the strange discovery that the metre is the only measure 
of dimension which agrees with that adopted by these most 
ancient artists and architects; another very striking point of 
contact with the Chaldean priests, the Magi"? In August, 
1893, in the 'New York Advertiser, I publicly challenged Dr. 
Brinton to a conference before any scientific society of his 
own choice, to show what he really knew about the Mayas, 
their language, manners, customs, and history. He prudently 
took no notice of my challenge. But, being as desirous to 
defend my reputation in my chosen field of study as he is 
to shield his, I seized the opportunity offered by the mem- 
bers of the American Association for the Advancement of 
Science holding their annual meetings, under his presidency, a 
few steps from my residence in the city of Brooklyn, to send 
him this second challenge, a copy of which was placed in his 
hand on August 20th, while he was standing with other mem- 
bers of the association in the reception room of the Polytech- 
nic Institute: 



The BagU has received the following : 

Di: Daniel G. Brinton, President of the 

American Association for the Advancement of Science. 
Sir : Do you remember that in 1887, when the American Association 
for the Advancement of Science met in New York at Columbia College, by 
direction of Professor Putnam, I wrote to you from this city, inq\iiriug if I 
might be permitted to read a paper on "Ancient American Civilization " 
before the archieological department of said association, you being then the 
President of said section ? Do you remember also that I did not receive 
until tliree weeks after the closing of the sessions of said association the 
answer to my letter, it having somehoio been sent to San Francisco, Cat., 
instead of Brooklyn, L. I. ? It is to avoid another such clerical mistake 
that I now take this mode of reaching the association and yourself. 


You are well aware that during the last quarter of a century, partic- 
ularly, liumau knowledge has made great progress in all branches of science 
except that of American archaeology, which is not now mucli more advanced 
than it was a century ago. You also feel, if you do not admit it, that all 
that has been written on that subject in Europe and America does not pass 
from mere speculation on the part of the writers, and is therefore, scientifi- 
cally and historically speaking, scarcely worth the paper on which said 
speculations and theories are printed ; that none of the pretended authori- 
ties on the subject can read a single sentence of the Maya books and mural 
inscriptions; that they therefore know nothing about the ancient Mayas, 
their culture and scientific attainments, although some of said writers pre- 
sume to pronounce magisterially on these subjects. You pose as, and are 
therefore considered, the authority in the United States on all questions 
pertaining to the ancient Mayas ; for this reason I address myself to you, 
and also because you are now the president of the American Association 
for the Advancement of Science, whose members should be proud to help 
in shedding light on the ancient civilization of the continent on which 
they live. 

In your book, "Essays of an Americanist" (p. 439), you aver that my 
asserting that the ancient Maya standard of lineal measures was the metre, 
or be it the ten millionth part of the quarter of the meridian, is one of my 
eccentricities, but give no reasons for so attacking my statement. A year 
ago, through the columns of the New York Advertiser, n copy of which I 
mailed to your address, I sent you an invitation to prove your averment 
before any scientific society of your own choosing, provided the meeting 
were public. 

Thei'e can be no better opportunity than the present, no better qualified 
audience than the scientists now assembled under your presidency, for pass- 
ing judgment on all such questions. 

Will you, then, appoint a day, at your own convenience, to meet me 
before the members of the association and discuss all points treated by ytm 
in your book above mentioned ? 1. Maj'a phonetics. 2. What were the 
true signs used by ancient Mayas for the cardinal points ? 3. Landa alpha- 
bet and Maya prophecies. 4. Maya standard of measures. And, besides, 
the following : (1) Maya science of numbers ; (2) Maya cosmogony ; (3) 
Maya knowledge of geography, geology; and, if you please (4), Maya 
language and its universal spread among all ancient civilized nations of 
anj;iquity in Asia, Africa, and Europe. 

All said discussion to rest altogether on hard facts, scientific or his- 
torical, not on mere conjectures or suppositions, so as to be of real value to 
the scientific world, and thus give ancient America its proper place in the 
universal history of the world. Of course, the four hundred photographic 


slides made by me from photos also taken by me in situ I most willingly 

place at your disposal to sustain your part of the discussion, which I doubt 

not you will readily accept to redeem your written promise, made to me as 

far back as 1885, as I intend using them to demonstrate my side of the 

case. Hoping, sir, that you will gladly improve the opportunity to show 

that you are really an authority, with right therefore to criticise others on 

such an important subject, to all American scientists, and aflEord me one for 

displaying my extravagancies or eccentricities before the membei-s of the 

American Association for the Advancement of Science, I beg to subscribe 


Yours most respectfully, 

Augustus Le Plongeon. 

18 Sidney Place, August 18, 1894.' 

Dr. Brinton took no more notice of this challenge than he 
had taken of the former one, published in August, 1893, in the 
New York Advertiser. 


Is it that he regards me, claiming no title of professor in 
any university, nor even that of member of any scientific soci- 
ety, as an adversary unworthy of him, whose defeat would 
bring him neither fame nor honor? Or is it on prudential 
grounds? Does he fear lest his ignorance of a subject on 
which he claims to be an authority should be made mani- 
fest, and his reputation as a learned archaeologist be lost 
forever? Since he has refused to give me the opportunity 
to defend myself against his unwarranted aspersion, I will 
say here what I would have said to him personally before 
the members of the A. A. A. S. had he accepted my chal- 

The learned Professor of American Archteology and Lin- 
guistics of tlie University of Pennsylvania seems to be ignorant 
of tiie fact that the Chaldeans, who, M^e have shown, were in 

' Brooklyn Eagle, edition of August 19, 1894. 


their origin a Maya colony, also used the metre as their 
standard of lineal measures. Will he likewise accuse Ernest 
Renan, the late famous French scientist and professor in the 
College de France, of eccentricity, because on pages 60 and 61 
of his " Histoire Generale des langues Semitiques," he says: 
" Le caractere grandiose des constructions Bahyloniennes et 
JVinivites, le developpement scientifique de la Ghaldee, les rap- 
ports incontestdbles de la civilisation Assyrienne amec celle de 
VEgypte, auraient leur cause dans cette premiere assise de 
peuples materialistes, constructeurs, auxquels le monde entier 
doit avec le systeme meteique les plus anciennes connaissances 
qui tiennent d V astronomie, aux mathematiques et d Vindus- 
trie. ' ' 

ISTo doubt the Professor of Archeology of the Pennsylvania 
University will also accuse the learned English astronomer 
John "Wilson of downright lunacy for stating in his work, 
" The Lost Solar System of the Ancients Discovered " : ^ 

"The adaptation of the Babylonian standard, based on a 
knowledge of the earth's circumference, to the monumental 
records of science prove that the Druids of Britain, the Persian 
Magi, the Brahmins of India, the Chaldees of Babylonia, the 
Egyptian hierarchy, the priests of Mexico and Peru, were all 
acquainted, as Caesar says of the Druids, with the form and 
magnitude of the earth; or, as Pomponius Mela states, with 
the form and magnitude of the earth and motion of the 

" Hence it is evident that the world had been circumnavi- 
gated at an unknoAvn epoch, and colonies formed in the old and 
new world, aU making use of the same standard in the con- 

' Jolm Wilson, The Lost Solar System of the Ancients Discovered, vol. ii., 
p. 336. 


struction of their religious monuments. So the Babylonian or 
Sabffian standard may be said to have been universal. 

" The measurement of the earth's circumference made at 
a very remote period by an unknown race, who constructed 
the great teocalli of Xochicalco, accords with the measurement 
lately made by the French, if the circumference of the fort 
equals four thousand metres." ' 

' ' The wandering Masons, who have left traces of their 
monuments in the four quarters of the world, wiU be found to 
have traversed the great Pacific Ocean, made the circuit of the 
globe, and measured its circumference."^ 

"The Burmese hyperbolic temples, like the Egyptian and 
Mexican pyramidal temples, were most probably originally 
dedicated to the worship of the heavenly bodies. 
The Sabseans regarded the pyramidal and hyperbolic temples 
and the obelisks as the symbols of divinity." ' 

" Religious zeal, so strongly characteristic of the doctrines 
promulgated in the systems of India and Egypt, was the means 
of furthering in those regions the extension of geographical 
knowledge at an epoch long anterior to the date of Christian- 
ity. This is evident from the still existing monumental records 
left by these early missionaries of religion and civilization, the 
founders of settlements in both hemispheres."'' 

" The ancient missionaries of religion and civilization 
planted the Babylonian standard with their pyramids and tem- 
ples in all parts of the globe. It is only by these silent mon- 
uments that the ancient missions have been traced, after the 

' Johu Wilson, The Lost Solar System of the Ancients Discovei'ed, vol. i., 
p. 381. 

''Ibid., vol. ii., p. 233. 
'Had., vol. i., p. 247. 
' Ibid., vol. ii., p. 339. 


lapse of ages, when all other records of their science and his- 
tory had perished." ^ 

"The Babylonian standard of these missions has been 
traced through Asia, Egypt, Phoenicia, and along the Mediter- 
ranean coasts. ' ' ^ 

Will the learned Piazzi Smyth be also accused of oddity by 
the hypercritical Dr. Brinton because he asserts that the build- 
ers of the great Egj^ptian pyramid used as a standard of 
measures, at least in the king's chamber — the most recondite, 
mysterious, and, no doubt, sacred spot of the stupendous edi- 
fice — the one ten-millionth part of the earth's axis of rotation, 
instead of the one ten-millionth part of the quadrant of a 
great circle passing through the poles, as did the Chaldeans 
and the Mayas ? 

This selection of the one ten-millionth part of, the diameter 
on the one hand, and the one ten-millionth part of the arc 
comprised between the pole and the equator on the other, 
as standard of lineal measures, proves not only an identity 
of canons in the astronomical computations of the Egyptians 
and the Chaldees, but that they had ascertained the size of 
the earth; and that, if they did not borrow this knowledge 
one from the other, they had learned it from the same 
masters, as Mr. John Wilson asserts. "Were those masters the 
Mayas ? 

Let us hear what Piazzi Smyth says on the subject: " Hence 
all that we can declare as to the fact is that near the interior of 

' John Wilson, The Lost Solar System of the Ancients Discovered, vol. ii., 
p. 313. 

Their language has also remained. It has been our guide through the 
present volume. (The author.) 

^ John Wilson, The Lost Solar System of the Ancients Discovered, vol ii., 
p. 239. 




a building whose ancient name, it is said, was ' a division into 
ten,' there is one typifying, or rather positively illustrating, a 
division into five. 

"The coffer, according to the metrological theory, is 
founded in part on the one ten-millionth of the earth's axis 
of rotation. 

" This is something suspicious of a connection, especially if 
divided by the pyramidal ten, but not enough; and on looking 
round the room, an attentive observer may soon perceive a 
more striking illustration of the division into five, in that the 
four walls of the room have each four horizontal joint lines, 
actually dividing the wall's whole surface into five horizontal 
stripes or courses." ' 

"Hence the chamber is constructed coramensurably to 
the coffer, and the coffer to the chamber, with fifty and five as 
the ruling numbers. But there exists even more testimony of 
this sort, identifying the whole pyramid also with the coffer 
and its chamber, in a quarter, too, where I had certainly never 
expected to find anything of the kind ; viz., the component 
course of masonry of the entire building."^ 

From the foregoing observations by Mr. Piazzi Smyth, it 
is evident that the Egyptians made use of a decimal system 
derived from their knowledge of the length of the earth's 
diameter, just as the Mayas did. 

Landa tells us that, in archaic ages, before the occurrence 
of the event ^ which induced them to alter the basis of their 
chronological computations and adopt as such the number 

' C. Piazzi Smyth, Life and Work at the Great Pyramid, vol. iii., pp. 

= Ibid., vol. iii., p. 199. 

■' Pio Perez, Cronologia Antigua de Yucatan. Apud Landa, L<ts Cosas de 
Yucatan, p. 404. Brasseur's publicatiou. 


thirteen, they also made use of the decimal system. "They 
counted in fives and twenties up to one hundred." " Qxoe su 
cuenta es de V en Y hasta XX, y de XX en XX hasia (7. " ' 

CogoUudo, Lizana, Torquemada, in fact, the majority of the 
chroniclers who have written on the manners and customs of 
the ancient Mayas, mention this mode of computation by 
them until that by thirteenths was adopted. Of all these 
writers Landa alone hints at the cause of this change. 

Many a long and senseless discussion, fuU of profound 
learning, has been indulged in; many an eloquently written 
dissertation, replete with more or less specious reasons to show 
why the wise men of Mayacli adopted the number thirteen as 
a basis for their computations, has been published by erudite 
professors, each advocating his private opinion with as much 
ardor as uselessness. And the conclusion? The same, of 
course, as that reached by that " scientific society on the Stan- 
islaus," whose debate on a certain jaAV-bone, whether it was 
that of a mule or that of an ass, Bret Harte has recounted. 
All because they never read the book of Landa, or they dis- 
dain to believe the relation of a man who was in an exceptional 
position to learn much concerning the native traditions. 

We need not rely altogether on Landa's testimony regard- 
ing the use of a decimal system by the Mayas. We find 
abundant proofs in the ruins of their temples and palaces. 

Had the learned Professor of American Archaeology of the 
Pennsylvania University been less grossly ignorant of all things 
relating to the Mayas, their religious and cosmogonic notions, 
their scientific attainments, the meaning of their architecture, 
and their language, he certainly would not have indited such 
a paper as his "Maya Measures," nor attributed to eccentri- 
' Landa, Las Oosas de Yucatan, chap, xxxiv., p. 206. 



city my statement that they made use of the metre as a 
standard of lineal measures. 

As to his emphatic assertion that he "does not see from 
my own measurements that the metre is in any sense a com- 
mon divisor for them," this is not in the least surprising. He 
has never personally measured the Maya constructions; he has 


Dlltonep bctwaeii C?nt*>-| CC of Columiu TM' 
Ar< AC oFSacli nation, i di*1iii»«MiMn> <#nt#na)nluinn* 
Sine BJ of Untitle. lkotCircwilfmi(FtK*XpMJ*itln»^(inlmC£ 
Ui«m.hrFC of Column. .iS flroiTiWnrt 1W (.«"ntliiW|3t.&nInlCf 

b™. Al .fD..l™ti". ' 

Dumeler of CoUimnsor 45^ Latiludv of MAyApan 20*56'. 

V«r««d'Snt< CI ofDeelifiJion. ♦ DUmoter of Column*, 
V.n>d-&~JCoIULIodr.t Diimto F6 of tolmnn. . 
Sin>AKofj1ii£l<A0I>.^ diitanco tHwcm C*nUrs CC 
ft^f CiTcunfo™™, dul |.»»ie» IKrougl. Ce«I."CC 

Lfnolh of l....of P,™,-.!d N<»O...J. 11-50- 
" E.jt.iJ-£- 

never had access to my field notes, or any of the restorations 
of the buildings made by me from said notes and from the 
photographs of said edifices made by me in situ. He has only 
loolced superficially at the few plans in my possession when he 
honored me with his visit ; these did not seem to interest him. 
The only example of the use of the metre by Maya astron- 


omers, architects, and mathematicians, ever published from 
manuscripts written by me, is the protraction of a gnomon 
which I discovered in the ruined city of Mayapan, situated 
on the lands of the hacienda X-Canchakan, distant thirty 
miles from Merida, the capital of Yucatan. This protraction 
forms part of one of my reports to the " American Antiqua- 
rian Society," of "Worcester, Mass. (See illustration, p. 212.) 

It is not the result of intricate calculations wherein errors 
may creep. It is a simple drawing constructed from measure- 
ments made by me in situ. These must, by force, have been 
very accurate, or the various parts of the drawing would not 
fit exactly in their proper places. Such protraction should 
therefore • settle all doubts regarding the true standard of 
lineal measures used by the Mayas, in very remote times, and 
even after the destruction of the Land of M^i by earthquakes 
and submergence. 

This report was published in the proceedings of said society 
under the title of "Mayapan and Maya Inscriptions." It 
contains various typographical errors. The proof-sheets were 
not submitted to me before being sent to press (I was then in 
the forests of Yucatan). Therefore I could not correct them. 
There is, however, one mistake which is due to a lapsus calami 
on my part. How did it occur ? It was one of those inex- 
plicable oversights that frequently take place in making com- 
putations; perhaps a temporary systematic anaesthesia pro- 
duced by the concentration of the mind on a single point when 
passing over a number of figures in calculation. At any rate, 
there is no mistake in the drawing, which is perfect, and in 
accordance with the measurements made of the gnomon itself. 

The diameter of the columns is 0.45 metre. The distance 
between their centres is 1.90 metres. In my manuscript, it 


seems, I wrote 1.70 metres, or I made the 9 and 7 so as to mis- 
lead the printer; and therein consists the grave error that has 
given ground for Dr. Brinton's criticism of all my measure- 
ments. Had he not been looking for an excuse to impugn the 
conscientious work of an original explorer, thereby seeking his 
own aggrandizement, he could have seen that the error was 
merely typographical; and that my statement "that the 
Mayas, like the Chaldees, did certainly use the metre as a 
standard of lineal measures," was not eccentricity, iut positive 


Note XIII. (Page 111.) 

(1) It may be asked, How is it that the Mayas came to 
adopt the one ten-m.illionth part of the quadrant of the great 
circle that passes through the poles of the earth, as standard of 
lineal measures ? 

To him who is acquainted with the " Sacred Mysteries " of 
the ancient Maya adepts, the motive is indeed very evident. 
Like the ancient Egyptians, the Mayas of old were, as their 
descendants are to-day, an eminently religious people. With 
them, as, in fact, with every civilized nation, their cosmogonic 
notions formed the base of their religious conceptions, and 
both were embodied in their sacred edifices, particularly in 
their pyramids, symbols of God in the universe. 

They conceived this universe to be an infinite boundless 
darkness, in which dwelt the unknowable, the inscrutable 
Will, TJol. Having come to the knowledge that, by first 
concentrating their thoughts, and then sending them forth in 
every direction to the utmost limits of space, these formed, as 
it were, radii of equal length, that terminated at the vault 
of a sphere whose limitation was a great circle ; having, be- 
sides, discovered that the circle is, in nature, the ultimatum 
in extension, they figured that Will, that Eternal One 
Being, as a circle, Qj which they also called Uol, whose 
centre was everywhere and circumference nowhere. They 
imagined this Will as being both male and female — Andro- 
gynus — two in one and one in two. In it life pulsated uncon- 


scious. At the awakening of consciousness, when the Infinite 
Sexless ceased to be sexless, the male principle, remaining stiU 
distinct, fructified the immaculate virgin womb of nature, that 
cosmic egg that we see pictured in the tableau of creation at 

This new manifestation of the Boundless /T~s. One they 
figured as a circle with its vertical diameter, f j and called 

it Liahun, the " aU-pervading one," from VXx L,ali, "he 
who is everywhere, ' ' and hun, ' ' one. ' ' It became the Decade, 
image of the universe evolving from the boundless darkness, 
the number lO, the most mystic among the initiates of aU 
nations, formed of the triad and the septenary; the most bind- 
ing oath of the Pythagoreans. From this vertical diameter, 
sjonbol of the male principle impregnating the virgin womb 
of nature, originated the idea of the Phallus as emblem of 
the Creator, whose Avorship under this image we find among 
all civilized nations of antiquity from the remotest ages. 

The circle divided into four parts, by its vertical and hori- 
zontal diameters crossing each other, formed the tetraktis,^ 
"the sacred four," the "builders," that is, the Canob of 
the Mayas, or the Tian-chihans of the initiates among 
them, the "heavenly giants," the same called by the Hindoo 
occultists Dhyan-Chohans. The universe, now under the 
regency of these Four powerful intelligences, they figured as a 
circle with y'T"^ its vertical and horizontal diameters crossing 

each other, h j, thus forming the mundane cross, and to 

them was ^"^-^ intrusted the building of the physical world 
and the guardianship of the cardinal points. To distinguish 

' Ubi supra, Plate XXIII. 

" This sacred square, that Pythagoras taught his followers was Four and 
their oath, was a sacred number with the initiates in India, Egypt, Chaldea, 
Greece, and other countries, as well as with the Naacals of Mayach. 



them, the genii of the north and of the south — that is, the 
keepers of the male principle of nature, of the active and 
fecundating forces — were figured by the same circle with its 
crossed diameters, to which wings were added. This we learn 
from the inscriptions that adorn the facade of the sanctuary 
at Uxnial (Plate LXXI.) and from the Troano and other 
Maya MSS. 

These genii of the cardinal points, these four creators, are 
known to the Hindoo occultists as the "Four Maharajahs," 
or "great kings " of theDhycm Cholia/ns} In OcosiTigo, Guate- 


mala, as also in Egypt, we see them portrayed as circles with 


wings; in Assyria, as ferouhers. They became the amshaspands 
of the Mazdeans ; the Elohim and the seraphs of the Hebrews ; 
the archangels of the Chi-istians and Mohammedans ; the kabiri 
and Titans of Hesiod's theogony; the four gods whose golden 

' H. P. Blavatsky, The Sacred Doctrine. 



statues, Clement of Alexandria tells us,* were carried by the 
Egyptians at all the festivals of the gods. 


These "four powerful ones," these " Caiiobs," these 
heavenly architects, emanated from the " Great Infinite 
One, " evolved the material universe from chaos. The Blaya 
occultists figured this manifested universe by 
inscribing a square within a circle; that is, by 
joining the ends of the vertical and horizontal 
diameters. s 

The Pj'^thagoreans honored numbers and geometrical de- 
signs with the names of the gods.^ The Egyptians called the 
monad "Intellect,"^ male and female, "god," "chaos," 
" darkness." 

' Clement of Alexandria, Stromat, v., p. 242. 

' Plutarch, De hide, s. 76. 

' Macrobiua, Somnium Scipionis, c. 6. 

Page 218. 

Plate LXXI. 


Damascius in his treatise "IIspiApxior " says: " The Egyp- 
tians asserted nothing of the First Principle of things, but cele- 
brated it as a thrice unknown darkness transcending all intel- 
lectual perception. " According to Servius, " they assigned the 
perfect number three to the Great God. ' ' Tetraktis was the 
mystic name of the Creative Power, and three was looked upon 
as embracing all human things. " Know God," says Pythag- 
oras, "who is number and harmony. Number is the father 
of the gods and men." Pythagoras borrowed his knowledge 
of numbers and their meanings from the Egyptians. These 
received their science from the Mayas, those civilized stran- 
gers, their ancestors, who in remote ages, coming from the 
East and from the "West, had settled and brought civilization 
to the banks of the Nile. Such being the case, it is but nat- 
ural that we should find the same doctrine regarding cosmog- 
ony and the meaning of numbers in Mayacli, their mother 
country in the " Lands of the "West." 

Pythagoras 's teachings were that the rectangular triangle 
which Plato called the mystic diagram, its height being repre- 
sented by 3, its base by 4, and its hypothenuse by 5, was the 
most perfect image of the "Infinite Spirit in the Universe," 
because 3, composed of 1 + 1 -f- 1, stood for the male principle; 
4, the square of 2, for the female ; and 5, proceeding from both 
2 and 3, the universe, and so was counted Penta in the general 

The Mayas called the first centenary (100, the square of 
10) the number representing the "Infinite One about to 
Manifest," Hokal, and placed it in their diagram at the 
upper end of the vertical diameter. 

The second centenary (200) they said was " the Infi- 
nite STILL WHOLLY ENCLOSED," Laluiiikal (that is, Lah, 


" wholly; " hun, " one; " kal, " enclosed "), and placed it at 
the right hand end of the horizontal diameter. 

The third centenary (300) they held to be \he piercing of the 
closed virgin womh, Holhukal (that is, Hoi, "to pierce;" 
hu, "virgin womb," and kal, "closed"), and placed it at 
the lower end of the vertical diameter that forms the height 
of the four rectangular triangles which compose the square, 
and therefore stands for the male principle in Plato's mystic 

Out of this notion came the doctrine so general in the 
theogonies of all civilized nations of antiquity, of an immacu- 
late virgin conceiving and giving hirth to a god. 

The fourth centenary (400) the Mayas caEed Hiinbak, 
the one male organ of generation, and placed it at the left end 
of the horizontal diameter ; that is, the base of the rectangular 
triangles composing the square, corresponding therefore to the 
female principle of Plato's mystic diagram. 

The hypothenuses, standing for number five and the uni- 
verse in said diagram, form the sides of the square inscribed 
in the circumference. Their numerical aggregated value is 
twenty, which the Maya sages called kal, or that which 
closes and completes the square. 

Thus we come to know that the identical doctrine resrard- 
ing the esoteric meaning of numbers which existed in India, 
Chaldea, Egypt, and Greece was likewise taught to the initi- 
ates in the temples of Mayacli, and why, in their numer- 
ical computations, the 3Iaya sages counted in fives up to 
twenty, and by twenties to one hundred, thus making use of 
what we moderns call the decimal system. 

They refrained from counting by tens for the same reason 
that we forbear to habitually utter the name of God ; number 


lO, Lahun, representing to their mind the " Spirit of the 
Universe," the "Boundless," the "Infinite One," Ku, 
whose name was too sacred to be pronounced except with the 
utmost reverence. 

Is it mere coincidence that in all countries where vestiges 
of Maya civilization can be traced, there also we find that 
among the occultists and initiates into the sacred mysteries 
number ten stood for the name of God ? 

Even for the Hebrew cabalists, who no doubt learned the 
doctrine from the philosophers of the school of Alexandria, 
number ten was represented b}^ the letter J or /, Jod, 
signature of the name of Jehovah, by whom all things were 
created; Jah (Jehovah) being a name composed of the two 
letters t/and H, that is, 10 and 5, or " God and the universe." 
The ten Sejjhiroth, or numbers, Avere regarded by them as 
emanations of the Divine Intelligence, that, according to the 
book of light, the Sohar, combined to form the Heavenly Man, 
of whom man on earth is an image.' 

As we count by thousands, saying " one thousand, two thou- 
sand, three thousand," etc., the Mayas, for sacred reasons, 
counted by " four hundreds. " Thus they said " one four hun- 
dred, two four hundred, three four hundred," etc. 

It may interest my readers, particularly those who have 
made a study of occultism, to know the esoteric meaning of 
the names of the cardinal numbers as taught by the ancient 
Maya adepts, the Naacals, to those they initiated into the 
mysteries of cosmogony. 

In my rendering of the Maya names I have adhered to 
their original purport as closely as the genius of the English 

' Moses de Leoa, Booh of Sohar, ii. 70 5 ; i. 30 a. 




















language permits. The correctness of my translation may be 
easily verified by consulting Maya vocabularies.^ 

one; Hunab, the universal, 

is (call), 

who, by his inherent power, caused 
wisdom, the word, the Logos,^ 
to come ; 

to disentangle things; 
to 1)6 his associate (uk, companion) ; 
to make tJiem^ stand erect 
and send them revolving on themselves. 
10 Lahun He is all in one (Liali, all; liun, one). 

The fact that the Mayas alone, among all civilized 
nations of antiquity, and even of modern times, epitomized in 
the names of the cardinal numbers their system of cosmogony, 
would tend to prove that they were the originators of it. 
This identical system having been adopted in all countries 
where traces of their name is found, would show that, at some 
time or other, they carried it to said countries; and its adop- 
tion, without any material change, by the priesthood of these 

' Tlieie is a very complete ancient Maya dictionary MS. in tlie Brown 
Library in Providence, R. I. It was the property of Abbe Brasseur, who 
used it extensively in forming his own vocabulary — Maya and French, 
lie allowed Dr. Carl Berendt to make a copy of it. This copy is now in 
possession of Dr. Brinton, who refers to it as "the Motul dictionary." I 
made a partial copy of it in 1884, when it was intrusted to me for that 
purpose by my friend the late Mr. Bartlett, then librarian of Brown's 

" Are we to see here the origin of the idea of the serpent being regarded 
as the wisest of all animals (Genesis, cliap. iii., verse 11), and therefore of 
its being used as symbol of the Creator by all civilized nations of antiquity ? 
Can, in Maya, is the generic word for ''serpent." 

Page SSS. 

Plate LXIX. 

Plate LXX. 


different countries, would establish the inference that they were 
held by all as the most learned and civilized people of those 

It is admitted as proved beyond controversy that the Ar- 
yans, the Hindoos, the Chaldees, the Greeks, in fact, every 
nation regarded as civilized from which we have received our 
knowledge of numbers, began their system of numeration by 
counting the fingers of their hands, and named each number 
accordingly. The Egyptians seem to have formed an excep- 
tion. Bunsen has showed conclusively that their names for the 
cardinal numbers had no relation to each other, and the few 
whose etymon is suspected do not have reference to their 
notions of the cosmic evolution. It is, however, probable that 
they also took the five fingers of the hand as starting point for 
their numeration, since Tu or SB, name of the numerical five, 
is regarded as an original form of TT ox Tot, the " hand." ^ 

It now remains to explain why the Mayas adopted the 
metre as standard of lineal measures. 

That they were acquainted with exact sciences there can 
be no doubt. They were mathematicians, astronomers, archi- 
tects, navigators, geographers, etc. As well as the art thej^ 
possessed the science of navigation, since they knew how to 
calculate longitudes and latitudes, as proved by the construc- 
tion of the gnomon discovered by me at Mayapan. They 
were, therefore, familiar with plane aud spherical trigonome- 
try. They had computed the size of the earth, estimated the 
distance from pole to pole, calculated the length of the merid- 
ian. I have already mentioned tlie fact that in the construc- 
tion of their sacred buildings they invariably embodied their 
cosmogonic and religious conceptions, particularly in their 

' Bunsen, EgypVs Place in the Universal History, vol. iv., pp. 105-106. 


pyramids. The several parts of these edifices were so arranged 
and proportioned as to agree with the ratio of the diameter to 
the circumference, tt = 3.1415; the sum total of which, 2x7, 
was a numerical that, to the Maya initiates, as to all the occult- 
ists in other parts of the world, represented the "circum- 
scribed world," the earth. 

The vertical section of the plans of these sacred buildings 
was always inscribed in a half circumference having a radius 
of 21 = 3 X 7 metres, whose diameter formed the ground line. 
Esoterically these buildings figured the earth; their height 
stood for the gods of the earth, represented numerically by 
number 1,065 = 21, number of the creators or jyrajapdtis, ac- 
cording to the " Mahabharata; " and that of the rays on each 
side of the cosmic egg in the creation tableau at CMcllen.^ 
We have seen that it is likewise the numerical value of the 
letters composing the name of Jehovah.^ It is well to remark 
that the height of the principal pyramids in Yucatan is invari- 
ably twenty-one metres.^ 

In fixing a standard of lineal measures the Maya sages 
adopted a subdivision of the circle which was naturally di^'ided 
into four hundred parts, in accordance with their cosmic con- 
ceptions, whilst the Egyptians selected a subdivision of the 

' Ubi supra, p. 76, illustration xxiii. 

= Ibid. 

' Those of my readers who are desirous to know why the Maya archi- 
tects always inscribed the vertical section of the plan of their pyramids 
within a circumference, I beg to refer to the work of my friend the late 
J. Ralston Skinner of Cincinnati, O., Source of Measures, at g 55, "Effect 
of Putting a Pyramid in a Square " (p. 95), and to I 83, "Pyramid Symbo- 
lization " (p. 159), published by the Robert Clarke Company of said city. 
Also to the remarkable work The lost Solar System of the A?icienU Dis- 
covered, by Mr. John Wilson, an English astronomer, vol. i., parts i. and 
ii., London edition of 1856. 


circle divided into three hundred and sixty parts, as modern 
scientists do ; this subdivision representing the abstract circum- 
ference value of the celestial circle, being the mean between 
355, number of the days of the lunar synodical year, and 365, 
the number of the days of the solar year. The Mayas chose 
the twenty-millionth part of one-half of the meridian — that 
is, the metre — instead of the ten-millionth part of the distance 
between the poles of the earth as did the Egyptians. 



Note XIV. (Page 105.) 

(1) Having explained how the ancient Maya sages came to 
adopt the decimal system in their numeration, and the metre as 
a standard of lineal measures, as found by actual survey of their 
ancient temples and palaces, I will premise a few observations 
on Dr. Brinton's chapters on "Maya Measures'" by some 
lines from the introduction to my paper on " Maya and Maya 
Inscriptions," published in the " Proceedings of the American 
Antiquarian Society, ' ' of "Worcester, Mass. They were writ- 
ten by Mr. Stephen Salisbury, now its president. This gen- 
tleman has many friends in Yucatan, a country which he has 
often visited. These know personally Mrs. Le Plongeon and 
myself. They are well acquainted with our work among the 
ruined cities of their native land. 

" Dr. and Mrs. Le Plongeon have the rare advantage of an 
almost continuous residence among Maya ruins for more than 
seven j^ears, and of constant relations with a class of Indians 
most likely to preserve ti'aditions regarding the past history of 
the mysterious structures which abound in Yucatan."^ 

It being settled, I hope beyond doubt, that we have stud- 
ied the Mayas where they can be thoroughly studied — that is, 
by living among them and as one of them — and it being admit- 
ted that such being the case we ought to know their customs, 
manners, traditions, etc., better than any one who has not 

' D. G. Bi-inton, Esmii/s of an Amerir.uiist, pp. 433-439. 

° Stephen Salisbury, ProiveJings of Am. Antiq. Soc, April, 1881. 


even set foot in their country, may I be permitted to ask Dr. 
Brinton a few questions respecting the "only measures''^ that, 
he asserts, were used by their ancestors ? If these did not use 
the metric system, why, in speaking of the size of the pages of 
the Dresden Codex, does he say, " The total length of the sheet 
is 3.5 metres, and the height of each page is 0.296 metre, the 
width 0.086 metre "?' 

What, in the name of common sense and professorial con- 
sistency, does this mean ? Does he not assert authoritatively, 
on page 434 of his book, "The Maya measures are derived 
directly and almost exclusively from the human body, and 
largely from the hand " ? ^ It would seem that the apostrophe 
of Festus to Paul suits his case exactly: " Thou art 'beside 
thyself; much learning doth make tliee mad.^''^ The first duty 
of a teacher, and particularly a would-be critic, is to be con- 
sistent with himself. Describing the size of the Dresden 
Codex, a Maya book, he should have said, "It is three and 
one-half paces long, one span and four fingers in height, 
and four fingers in width. " His readers would then have been 
able to form a very exact idea of its size, particularly had they 
perused the half dozen pages of the Maya names for foot- 
step, pace, or stride ; for the distance from the ground to the 
anlde, to the knee, to the waist, to the breast, to the neck, 
to the mouth, to the top of the head ; then for the width of 
the finger, of the hand, of the stretch between the end of the 
thumb and each of the other finger tips, which he has copied 
from Dr. Carl Herman Berendt's notebook, and imposes upon 
his readers as being, of his own knowledge, the only measures 

' D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, " Maya Codioes," p. 251. 
' Ibid., work quoted, " Maya Measures," 434^39. 
' Acts of the Apostles, chap, xxvi., verse 24. 


of length in use among the Mayas. Unhappily the late Dr. 
Berendt's cast-off philological garments are a misfit on Dr. 
Brinton's figure. He does not know how to wear them, nor 
that it is not always safe to parade with the feathers of a 
strange bird, though the feathers are paid for and the bird is 

All the words quoted are perfectly correct. The German 
naturalist certainly noted them down when he began to learn 
Maya, from the mouth of the natives, not because he believed 
that the learned Maya mathematicians and architects had no 
other lineal measures than these rough estimates, which, on 
the other hand, are not peculiar to the Mayas, but are used 
by ignorant people in every country, and even by those who 
are not ignorant. Do we not say ankle deep in the sand; 
knee deep in the mud; waist, breast, chin deep in the water? 
Do we not measure distances approximately by steps or strides ? 
depth, by fathoms ? Describing the stature of a horse, do we 
not express it by saying it is so many hands high ? Does this 
mean that these are the only standard measures of length in 
vogue among us? that astronomers, surveyors, architects, 
and mechanics make use of them in their mathematical compu- 
tations ? Can any one with common sense be guilty of such 
stupendous absurdity as to pretend that they do ? Will any 
intelligent person doubt that that which happens to-day among 
us has happened in all times, in all countries, when and where 
skilful workmen have wanted accurate measurements to carry 
on their undertakings ? 

How, then, can the learned Professor of Linguistics and 
Archaeology in the Pennsylvania Universitj" assert that the 
ancient Maya astronomers and architects had no other stand- 
ard of lineal measures for their mathematical calculations, and 


then attribute to my eccentricity the statement that they used 
the metre and its divisions ? 

In conclusion, it is apparent that this pedantic display of a 
useless nomenclature of Maya names for what he calls the 
standard lineal measure of the Mayas, was not published so 
much to impart to his readers exact information, as to parade 
Dr. Berendt's knowledge of the Maya language, while con- 
veying the impression that this knowledge was his own. He 
should have remembered the saying: "Those who live in 
glass houses should not throw stones; " to which I wiU add: 
If they venture to do so, they should at least wait until their 
neighbors are dead and buried. 


Note XV. (Page 105.) 

(3) May we inquire, without being accused of indiscretion, 
how great is Dr. Brinton's acquaintance with this most inter- 
esting of languages, the Maya ? It must indeed be quite 
extensive, since he presumes to declare authoritatively that 
Abbe Brasseur "knew next to nothing about it,"' and that 
Father CogoUudo, the author of the best history of Yucatan, 
published for the first time in Madrid in 1688, although he, 
during twenty-one years, preached the gospel to the natives 
in their own language, " was only moderately acquainted with 
the Maya tongue. " ^ This is indeed a singular assertion. How 
does the learned doctor know it ? What proof has he that such 
statement is true? Has he the pretension to expect that 
students of Maya civilization Avill accept such preposterous 
averment because he makes it ? 

If Abbe Brasseur "knew next to nothing about the 
Maya," and Dr. Brinton was aware of this, why, instead 
of making for himself a correct translation of that most inter- 
esting ancient Maya prayer, " The Invocation to the God of 
Bain, ' ' has he given a crippled, curtailed English rendei'ing of 
the French version published by Brasseur, and offered it to 
his readers as a sample of Maya composition ? Since he was 
intent upon imposing on them this deception, as he did not 
even preserve the depth of fervor exhibited in the French 

' D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, p. 261. 
" md., \1. 137. 


interpretation, the least he could have done was to give the 
invocation complete. 

As rendered by the Spanish translator, it means little, and 
Dr. Brinton's version is quite as meaningless, whilst the Maya 
text expresses devotion and religious sentiment, and is for us, 
at this late date, full of significance and information, as shown 
by my own interpretation (pp. 107, 108). 

This is the Spanish version given by Brasseur in Vol. II. 
of Troano MS. (pp. 101, 102): " Al asomarse el sol, senor del 
oriente, en las cuatro esquinas del cielo, en las cuatro esquinas 
de la tierra, cae mi palabra 6. cada cuatro punto, a la mano del 
Dios padre, de Dios hijo, de Dios Espiritu Santo. 

" Al levantarse las nubes al oriente, 61 subir en medio de 
la majestad celeste, a las trece ordenes de las nubes el que 
pone en orden el uracan amarillo, esperanza de los senores vis- 
itadores, el que pone en orden los asientos para el precioso vino, 
con el precioso amor para los senores cuidadores de milpas, 
para que vengan a poner su precioso favor, al santo grande 
Dios padre, Dios hijo, Dios Espiritu Santo. 

" Yo entrego su virgen semilla con mi santo amor, tu tendras 
que mirarme un momento; yo suplico que me lleves tu ben- 
dicion con todo tu corazon y entregues tu santo amor, para 
alcanzar tu creciente y virgen favor; porque es precioso entre- 
gar en la mano del Dios padre, de Dios hijo, de Dios Espiritu 

The following is Dr. Brinton's pretended interpretation of 
the Maya text: ^ 

" At the rising of the Sun, Lord of the East, my word goes 
forth to the four corners of heaven, to the four corners of the 

' D. Or. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist^ p. 167. Compare with my 
own version of this invocation, pp. 107, 108. 


earth, in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God 
the Holy Ghost. 

" When the clouds rise in the East, when he comes who 
sets in order the thirteen forms of the clouds, the yellow lord 
of the hurricane, the hope of the lords to come, he who rules 
the preparation of the divine liquor, he who loves the guardian 
spirits of the fields, then I pray to him for his precious favor; 
for I trust all in the hands of God the Father, God the Son, 
and God the Holy Ghost." 

Did he not know then, does he not know now, that even 
with the admixture of Christian ideas as Brasseur received it 
from the mouth of Marcelo Ccmich, mayoral of the hacienda 
of X-Canchakan (who also recited it to me), if the mean- 
ing of the words had been properly rendered, far from be- 
ing the senseless sentences he has published, he would have 
found it, as it is, replete with curious and most valuable 
information ? 

Plis rendering of the Invocation is indeed worthless, but 
the Maya text tells its o^vn most interesting story. From 
his not giving a proper translation, made b}^ himself, are we 
to infer that the learned professor of linguistics does not 
know the Maya language as he would have the world 
believe ? 

No one can read the learned anah'sis of the Maya, and 
the comparison of its grammatical construction with that of 
the ancient Greek, by the scholarly Brasseur, which forms the 
introduction to his "Elements of the Maya tongue,"' in the 
second volume of the Troano MS., without being satisfied that 
he was thoroughly acquainted with said language; and with- 
out acquiring the conviction that, b}^ attacking the memory 
of a great scholar, who now lies silent in the grave, Dr. 


Brinton has given another proof that he wants to build for 
himself a reputation for learning at the cost of that of fellow- 

In mentioning Balam, the Yumilcax, the "lord of the 
fields," the learned Professor of Archaeology of the University 
of Pennsylvania confounds him with the Cliacs, " the gods of 
rain," " guardians of the cardinal points." " These Balams," 
says he, "are in fact the gods of the cardinal points, and 
of the winds and rains which proceed from them," etc.,i and to 
prove his assertion he covers several pages of his book with idle 
tales, known to everybody. They are current to-day among 
the natives, who beguile the evening hours by recounting them 
over and over. These stories have no relation with ancient 
traditions. They contain as much teaching as the stories of 
" Puss in Boots " and " Bluebeard." 

We have seen (p. 103) that the Cliacs were the "gods 
of rain," and as such held as the "keepers of the fields," the 

' D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, " The Birds of the Winds " 
(p. 17n). It will be noticed that Dr. Brinton -writes the word Balams and 
gives H-Balamdb as the Maya plural. This is a word of his own coinage. 
He will not find it in his copy of Brown Library (Motul) dictionary. He 
does not seem to know that the ancient termination ob, as sign of plural 
in nouns, has not been in use for very many years, having been replaced 
by ex, second person jilural of the personal pronoun. So that, if in ad- 
dressing his workmen he should say to them, " Palob " (" Boys "), as it was 
proper anciently, they would cast at each other an inquiring glance, the 
meaning of which would plainly be, "What does he say ? But should he 
tell them, " Palex ! conex banal " (" Boys, let us go to eat "), he would 
not have to repeat the order twice. 

Neither does he seem to know that h is never used before a noun, 
except as a mark of the masculine gender, it being the contraction of ah, 
masculine article, never as a diminutive or particle of elegance. In that 
case X, contraction of the feminine article ix, is, and has always been, em- 
ployed, even before a masculine noun, as, for instance, in X-Kukulcan. 
But this is regarded as affectation on the part of the speaker. 


good genii who brought fertility to the earth. Balam's 
office, however, is quite different. He is the lord of the 
fields, the protector of the crops, and to him the primiti^ of 
all the fruits of the earth are offered before the harvesting is 
begun. Is he an imaginary Being ? By no means. His name 
Balam tells who he is — an anthropomorphism of the puma, 
whose clear, shriU whistle rings sharply through the forests, 
breaks the stillness of the night, and, waking the sleeping 
echoes, sends a thriU of terror coursing along the spine of the 
superstitious native. How came he to be looked upon as the 
protector, the guardian of the fields — Yunail col? Most 
naturally, indeed. 

The fields, covered with their abundant, ripening crops of 
corn, beans, and pumpkins, are nightly the resort of deer, 
peccaries, rabbits, and other herbivora that, during the day, 
sheltered by thick foliage from the fierce rays of the tropical 
sun, roam in the forests. All these grass-eating denizens of 
the woods are the natural food of leopards, pumas, cata- 
mounts, and other carnivora. These emerge from their lairs 
after sunset in search of prey. In the twilight, in the dark- 
ness, they prowl in and around the fields where they know 
their intended victims are feeding. Pouncing upon those 
nearest, an awful struggle for life takes place. Alarmed by 
the noise and the despairing cries of the victims, the others 
seek safety in flight, and the crops are thus saved from destruc- 
tion. This is why these self -constituted protectors of the 
crops came to be regarded as natural guardians of the fields. 
Believing that the pumas and leopards obey the orders of their 
invisible spirit lord, Balam, the natives, with appropriate 
ceremonies called Tich, make to him offerings of the best 
fruits of their fields. (Plate LXXII.) 

Page $36. 

Plate LXXIL 


Notwithstanding his pretensions, Dr. Brinton does not 
know Maya, even remotely. If any further proof were 
needed of the truth of this assertion, it would be found in 
this simple sentence, '' Piose avito^ xnoch cizin,^' printed in his 
book (p. 1Y4), as it is here, in italics; as is also his Spanish 
translation, which, with cause, I omit. He has copied both, 
original and translation, from a manuscript by a native of 
Tihosuco, named Zetina, who, it seems, was not over partic- 
ular in the choice of his language. I wish to believe that the 
learned Professor of Linguistics is but httle better acquainted 
with the Spanish tongue than with the Maya, else how does 
he dare call particular attention, by printing them in italics, to 
words that no gentleman would use in refined society ? — words 
that, besides, are not a correct translation of what was prob- 
ably intended to be conveyed in the Maya ; the exact render- 
ing of which in that tongue would be, " Pixe a ito, xnoch 
cizin," ^ whilst the intention of Senor Zetina was to write, 
" Pixe a uitho, xnoch cizin." Like the majority of his 
countrymen, he did not know how to write correctly his 
mother tongue. It must be confessed very few do. 

The first lesson in Maya taught to pupils is the letters of 
the alphabet and their proper pronunciation. At the same 
time thej^ are told that several of the characters forming part 
of the Latin alphabet are not used in the Maya ; among 
these the letter v. 

' Avito is not a Maya word. It has no meaning in that language. 

° I might be censured for publishing this sentence, which is a verbatim 
translation of Dr. Brinton's Spanish. My excuse for doing so is to show 
that the learned doctor does not know Maya, which is an unknown 
language outside of the countries where it is spoken ; I do not therefore 
run the risk of shocking the sense of propriety or decency of my readers in 
this or in European countries. 


Dr. Brinton is evidently ignorant of this elementary fact. 
Throughout his book, whenever he has had occasion to men- 
tion the Maya word for Tnan, he has invariably spelled it 
mnio} This is Quiche. The Maya orthography of the word 
is uinic. 

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the letters v and 
u were used indifferently one for the other. Thus it is that 
Landa, CogoUudo, Torquemada, Las Casas, and the other 
writers of those times wrote both uinic and vinic. It is 
quite different, however, in our day. 

It is evident that the learned Professor of Linguistics does 
not know which is the right word in Maya for "man," any 
better than he knows what was the true name for each of the 
cardinal points among the Mayas, although Landa gives 
them very explicitly. Shall it be said of Dr. Brinton as of the 
wooden saints, He has eyes but sees not? Or has he also, 
perchance, the pretension of being better informed on that sub- 
ject than the author of " Las Cosas de Yucatan " ? In every 
one of his books he assigns a different name to each of said 
points, in the hope of perhaps hitting, in one at least, on the 
right name. 

For instance, in his book "Myths of the New "World," 
article "Quiche Legends" (p. 82), he magistrally informs his 
readers: "The four known by the names of Kau, Muluc, Ix, 
Cauac, represent respectively the east, north, west, and south. 
As in Oriental symbolism, the east was j^ellow, the south red, 
the west black, the north white." These were the names of 
the guardians of the pillars that sustained the vault of heaveu.^ 
In his "Essays of an Americanist" (p. 20J:), the author seems 

' D. G. Briuton, Essays of an Americanist, pp. 176, 254, 438, et passim. 
" Ihid., Myths of the New World, p. 83. 


to indorse Prof. Cyrus Thomas's interpretation of the Maya 
signs for the cardinal points. In that case he would take 
Muluc to be the Tiorth, Cauac the south, Ix the east, and 
Kan the west; ' but he does not know that the signs he repro- 
duces are not the names of the cardinal points, nor even of the 
genii, guardians of the same, but of certain localities situated 
in the direction of said points. Again, in another of his works, 
" Hero Myths," the learned doctor, foUoAving Bishop Landa's 
assertion that in his day the Mayas assigned Kan to the 
south, Muluc to the east, Ix to the north, and Cauac to the 
west, informs his readers that such were the true respective 
names of the cardinal points.^ But he probabty reasoned. 
What did Bishop Landa know of Oriental sjonbolism ? So he 
casts aside Landa's positive teachings, with the result that, to- 
day, he does not know which are really the names of said 
cardinal points. As for me, I positively affirm that it can be 
demonstrated that Bishop Landa has transmitted to us the 
correct name of each point, and that they agree with those 
given by the authors of the various Maya books and inscrip- 
tions known to us, notwithstanding the learned Dr. Brinton's 

On October 16, 1887, I Avrote to him that, as I was Avriting 
a review of what had been done in the decipherment of the 
Maya inscriptions and books, I would be very glad, so as not 
to misrepresent him, if he Avould be kind enough to tell me 
which of the names he looked upon as the real one given by the 
Mayas to each particular cardinal point, as it was impossible 
to find out his opinion from his own Avorks. 

' D. G. Bfinton, Essays of an Americanist, p. 304. 

' lUcl., Eero Myths, p. 209. 

^ Landa, Las Gosas de Yucatan, cap. xxxiv. 


Five days later — that is, on October 21 — ^he answered 

"The first time I visit New York I hope to have the pleasure of seeing 
you and Mrs. Le Plongeon, and then I should like exceedingly to hear of 
your discoveries, and also to explain to you my views about the cardinal 
points and their representations in the Maya hieroglyphs. 

' ' I remain, etc. , 

"D. G. Brinton." 

"Well, Dr. Brinton has never called upon me, nor given me 
his views about the cardinal points and their representations in 
Maya hieroglyphs, though in August, 1887, I offered him an 
excellent opportunity, when the " American Association for the 
Advancement of Science ' ' met at Columbia College in jSTew 
York. By request of Professor Putnam I then wrote to him, 
as president of the archseological section, asking the privilege 
of reading a paper on " Ancient Maya Civilization " before its 
members. I did not read such paper; neither was my request 
refused; but the envelope containing the granting of it reached 
me exactly three weelcs after the association had closed its ses- 
sions. It had been sent to me, by mistake, to San Francisco, 
Cal., instead of to Brooldyn, N. Y. ; at least, so I was in- 
formed in the apologetic letter that came in the same envelope. 

Dr. Brinton's essay on the " Maya Phonetics," from page 
196 to 205, had better not have been written, much less pub- 
lished. Its contents are most misleading, injurious even, to 
students of Maya paleography, who might place reliance on 
the assumed knowledge of the author on this particular subject. 
The following statement made by him is positively inaccurate : 

" Turning first to the Maya, I may in passing refer to the 
disa]ipointment which resulted from the publication of Landa's 
alphabet by the Abbe Brasseur in 186-±. Here was what 


seemed a complete phonetic alphabet, which should at once 
unlock the mysteries of the inscriptions on the temples of 
Yucatan and Chiapas, and enable us to interpret the script of 
the Dresden and other codices. Experience proved the utter 
fallacy of any such hope. His work is no key to the Maya 
scripts." * 

Now, I aiSrm that, if it be true that the characters of 
Landa's alphabet are not of themselves a complete clew to the 
decipherment of Maya books and inscriptions, they are never- 
theless repeatedly found in the Maya manuscripts known to 
us, and with the identical value attributed to them by Landa.^ 
I furthermore maintain that, with the names of the days and 
the alphabetic characters preserved by him, the Maya codices 
can be translated. Of course, there are modifications of the 
same, as there are Avitli our mode of writing; there are also 
composed signs as there are composed words in the language. 
It is the translator's business to know what they are. 

This I have demonstrated in my unpublished worli, "The 
Monuments of Mayach and their Historical Teachings," 
which contains translations from the Troano and Cortesianus 
codices, whose authors have recorded many interesting his- 

' D. G. Brinton, Esmys of an Americanist, p. 199. 

^ To (^ exemplify my assertion, let us take, for instance, the 

character J | that Lancia tells us stands for nia, adverb of nega- 
tion. No. ® ® Is it not identical with the Egyptian adverb of 
negation, r^ Nenf But ina, radical of Mayach, also means 

" land," I I "country," both in Egyptian and in Maya. The sign 

in Maya scripts is the hieroglyph for Mayach ; that is, the 
peninsula of Yucatan, standing between the Gulf of Mex- 
ico and the Caribbean Sea, both represented by the sign | 
iiuix, "bosom," " bosom of the deep." The Egyptian word Nen 
means in Maya "mirror." Nen-ha, the "mirror of water," is said to 
have been the ancient name of the Mexican Gulf, on account of its almost 
circular shape. 

^ © 



torical events that occurred ages and ages ago, and which have 
reached us in the guise of myths and misty traditions. 

As to the late Abb6 Brasseur, I cannot claim the honor of 
having been personally acquainted with him, but among my 
friends and acquaintances in Yucatan and British Honduras 
several have known him intimately when he was residing in 
those countries. AH agree that he understood and spoke 
Maya and could converse freely with the natives. 

The late Dn. Juan Villanueva, a well-known lawyer in Mer- 
ida, when in 1873 I made his acquaintance, was acknowledged 
by his countrymen to be one of the best Maya scholars in the 
country. He gave Brasseur his first lessons in that language, 
and was proud of his pupil, who, he. said, learned it very rap- 
idly. Dn. Juan now sleeps that sleep that knows no wak- 
ing ; but I can testify to what he told me. Many, however, are 
still living who were intimatety acquainted with the learned 
Abbe, and who have also assured me that he had a fair knowl- 
edge of the language. Among these I may mention raj 
esteemed friend the Bight Bev. Dr. Dn. Crecencio Carillo y 
Ancona, now bishop of Yucatan, hunself a student and a 
thorough 3Iaya scholar ; also Dn. Vicente Solis de Leon, 
owner of the hacienda of X-Canchakaii, a govermnent 
engineer; Dn. Bafael Begil y Peon, a wealthy merchant and 
landed gentleman; Dn. Jose Tiburcio Cervera, a planter, 
owner of the lands on which the ruins of the ancient city of 
Labnaa are situated. All these gentlemen are well-known 
citizens of Merida, who have imbibed Maya with their nurses' 

In Belize, ]Mr. Henry Trumback, a merchant, whose name 
is mentioned by Abbe Brasseur among those of the persons to 
whom he was indebted for information whilst acquiring data 


for the compilation of his Maya vocabulary ; Eev. John 
Anderson, a Baptist minister, author of a Maya and English, 
and English and Maya dictionary; and E.ev. Father Pitar, 
superior of the Jesuit college in Belize, wherein dwelt the 
Abbe Avhen in that city, have assured me, all and each one, in 
particular, that they had been well acquainted with the late 
Abbe Brasseur and that he knew the Maya language. 

Let us hope that the testimony of such witnesses, and 
others whose names I could mention, will suffice to wipe off 
the slanderous aspersion with which Dr. Brinton has tried to 
tarnish the memory of a great scholar. 

To Abbe Brasseur belongs the honor of having been the 
first to bring to public notice the existence, in our day, of 
ancient books of Maya origin, when in 1867 he placed on 
exhibition in the Exposition on the Champ de Mars, in Paris, 
some of the proof-sheets of the Troano MS., which was then 
being reproduced under his supervision. 

In November, 1864, as a member of the " French Scientiiie 
Commission ' ' which went to Mexico under the auspices of 
the French Government, he landed in Yucatan, and at once set 
to Avork to study the Maya language under the tuition of our 
friend, the late Dn. Juan Villanueva, a great Maya scholar. 
He was unable to make a prolix study of the ruins of 
Uxmal on account of the many difficulties placed in his way 
by the Imperial Commissary. 

On his return to Europe, he found in Madrid, in possession 

of Dn. Juan Tro y Ortelano, professor of palaeography at the 

University, an original American manuscript, which at a glance 

he recognized as being written with characters analogous to 

those he had seen on the edifices at Uxmal. He obtained 

from the owner not only the loan of the document for all 


the time he might need it for his study, but also permission 
to reproduce it. After reaching Paris the Abbe applied 
himself Avith ardor to the classification and deciphering of 
the characters and symbols contained in the manuscript, 
with the help of those handed down by Landa. In 1869 he 
published the result of his labors in his work, "Etudes sur le 
Systeme Graphique et la Langue Maya." In it he announced 
that he had discovered, classified, and deciphered two hun- 
dred and thirty-three variants of the thirty-five alphabetic 
characters of Landa, and one hundred and forty-one variants 
of his twenty sjanbols of the days. 

With this vast array of signs, the value of which he fancied 
he knew, and with his knowledge of the Maya language, he 
undertook the deciphering of the texts of the Maya book. 
He certainly Avas better qualified for the work than those who 
after him have attempted it, as proved by the resTilts. StiU, 
not only have they criticised his interpretations, without how- 
ever offering better in their stead, but they have tried to belit- 
tle his labors, going so far as to assert that he had hindered for 
a long time the study of American palaeography. Yet it maj' 
be asked, What have his critics done ? Have they not made 
use of his works in their endeavors to find a clew to the mean- 
ing of these same texts ? Have they not built a reputation for 
learning on the debris of his fame, and from his own mate- 
rials, to which they have added not a single valuable particle ? 
Do we not find them consulting his Maya and French vocab- 
ulary, and translating ancient characters and spnbols by words 
of modern coinage, not to be found in old dictionaries, and that 
are unknown in the vernacular of the natives ? 

Brasseur's vocabulary is decidedly the work of a scholar. 
Were it mine I should be i)roud of it. It is a comparative 


study of Maya with ancient Greek and other languages, 
marred, however, by his having taken too great a license with 
the language, and having given explanations of ancient lore 
and traditions according to his own personal bias and precon- 
ceived ideas. Barring these blemishes, it is a most valuable 
work for students of Maya antiquities and of philology. So 
also is his French translation and rearrangement of Father 
Gabriel de San Buenaventura's "Arte del Idioma Maya," 
which he transcribed from the copy in possession of my 
honored friend, Bishop Dn. Crecencio Carillo y Ancona. 

Although his many scholarly attainments preeminently 
qualified him for the undertaking of the interpretation of the 
Maya texts, his great drawbacks Avere his preconceived opin- 
ions on the one hand, and a strange weakmindedness on the 
other. The first led him to see analogies and similitudes where 
none existed, and to launch into speculations and fancies unsup- 
ported by facts and lacking evidence ; the second caused him to 
be influenced by criticisms of persons incapable, for want of the 
necessary knowledge, of judging of the accuracy or inaccuracy 
of his renderings; but who, in their dogmatic ignorance, pre- 
sumed to jeer at the idea of the Troano MS. containing an 
account of earthquakes, of the subsidence of certain countries 
and the upheaval of others, of volcanic eruptions, of inunda- 
tions and cyclones and other geological and meteorological 
phenomena, that either happened in the writer's time or a rela- 
tion of which he had found in older works. Yet it is Avell 
known that all earljr chroniclers, speaking of the books found 
among the natives, state that some contained the events of their 
ancient history; that they had treatises on archaeology, med- 
icine, and other sciences; and why should not the Troano be 
one of these? Still he allowed himself to be persuaded, and 


acknowledged (p. xxvii) in his " Bibliotheque Mexico Guate- 
malienne preoedee d'un coup d'oeil sur les Etudes Ameri- 
caines, " that he had begun the reading of the Maya text at the 
wrong end ; adding, however, that his translations were simply 
intended as Tnere experiments. Could he answer from beyond 
the grave, I would ask him: " Abbe, how did you know, when 
you wrote this confession, that you were not mistaken again in 
making it ? You had not learned then how to read the texts 
better than before; you did not even know it at the time of 
your demise. Friend," I would teU him could he hear me, 
" you have been weak, and many have taken advantage of your 
weakness to ridicule you, and then place themselves where 
you ought to be, by making use of your own discoveries." 

It is evident that he had no reliance on his ability to wade 
through the intricacies of the Maya symbols and characters ; 
and that he did not notice the clew, placed by the author of the 
Troano within reach of his readers, like another thread of 
Ariadne, to guide them out of the mazes of the labyrinth. So 
he took no heed of the red lines that divide the text into para- 
graphs, and mark to which part the illustrations correspond. 
He read the horizontal lines from end to end, mixing discon- 
nected sentences of one paragraph with equally disconnected 
sentences of another, then beginning the reading of the per- 
pendicular columns at the bottom instead of at the top; the 
results were, of course, what might naturally be expected — an 
incoherent jumble and senseless phrases. 

He likewise interpreted hterally the names of the s3^nbols 
for the days, many of Avhich he simply' regarded as vai'iants of 
the originals given by Landa, not l-eflecting that variation in 
the sign implied also variation in the meaning, and that many 
of the characters were composed of the elements of several 


others, just as our polysyllabic words are formed of syllables 
found ia many other vocables having very distinct mean- 
ings. However, through his acquaintance with the significa- 
tion of the Maya words, and the works of the early writers 
and chroniclers, perhaps also guided by his scholarly intuition, 
he felt, more than he really made out, the general drift of the 
contents of the Maya text which he attempted to interpret. 
So he became convinced that in his writings the Maya author 
described volcanic eruptions and other geological phenomena. 
By publishing his convictions, he afforded his would-be critics 
an opportunity to condemn the results of his labors, although 
incapable themselves of deciphering a single sentence of the 
Maya books. 

To the present day they are unable to correct his mistakes 
by offering a true translation of the passages which they 
accused Brasseur of having improperly rendered. And may I 
ask how they know that they are not well translated ? It is 
the same old, old story so happily expressed in these few French 
words : I^a critique est facile, mais Vart est difficile. 

This recalls to my mind a certain conversation which I once 
had on this same subject with a French antiquary, a member 
of the Societe Ethnologique de Paris. He also was bitter in 
his denunciation of Brasseur's interpretation of the Troano. 

" What do you know, personally, about translating Maya 
writings ? Do j'^ou understand the Maya language ? Can you 
interpret a single Maya sign? " 

" No," he answered, " but Mr. de Rosny, and with him all 
authorized Americanists, have condemned Brasseur's interpre- 

" So, so, my man," I replied, " this is a case of give a dog 
a had name and hang him, is it ? Pray tell me who are the 


authorised Americcunists f Who are they that dare pass judg- 
ment on the efforts of a fellow student and condemn him ? Is 
it Mr. de Charencey, whose assertions and speculations are 
not worth refuting? " ' 

" Oh ! " replied my antiquary friend, "Mr. de Eosny has 
severely criticised all his attempts at decipherment of Central 
American inscriptions."^ 

"Yes, I am aware of it; he has also bitterly condemned 
those of Brasseur. By what right, pray ? Is it because he 
has published large volumes on Maya palaeography ? "What do 
their contents amount to, so far as the reading of the Maya 
books and inscriptions is concerned ? True, he saj^s that since 
he has determined, '' after a certain fashion,^ the value of the 
greatest part of the Maya characters, it will be easy to read 
them. But he himself cannot translate a single sentence of 
said books ; and yet he seems quite proud because the meaning 
of a few words interpreted by him has been accepted by 
some authorized Americanists, whoever these may be; or, in 
his own words, ' J''ai dmine, dans divers receuils la lecture de 
quelques mots, la quelle a eie aecej>tee par les americaiiistes auto- 
rises. ' ' And do these quelques mots, which he thinks he has 
interpreted, give him a right to sit as judge, and enable him to 
pass such a severe verdict, on Abbe Brasseur ? 

" What I say of the French applies equally to the English 
German, and American Americanists. They have not advanced 
one step toward the interpretation of the Maya books and 
inscriptions, beyond Brasseur's attempts. He, at least, never 

' H. de Charencey, Essai de Dechiffrement, Actes de la Societe Philohgique 
de Paris, vol. i., No. 3, p. 50, Mars, 1870. 

' Leon de Rosny, Essai sur le Dechiffrement de V^criture de V Amcrique 
Centrale, p. 13, Paris, 1870. 

" Ibid., Le Decliiffremcnt de VEcriture Uieratique, Introduction. 


designated any of the personages who figure in the Maya 
books as does Dr. P. Sohellhas,' and after him many whose 
name is legion, who pretend to be authorities on Maya palae- 
ography, ' the god with the banded face, ' ' the god with the 
long nose,' etc., instead of giving each his proper title, such 
as Ppa and XJacach, which are plainly written in the orna- 
ments that adorn these anthropomorphic personifications of the 
forces and phenomena of nature. 

" They assert that their ' god with the long nose ' is the ' god 
of rain,' disdaining to take heed of the broad hint as to who 
he is, given by the author of the Dresden Codex on the lower 
division of plate Ixv. of his work, where he represents 
XJacach paddling a canoe, under which a big fish is figured 
swimming in the ocean. May we be allowed to ask on what 
occasion the ' god of rain ' had to paddle his own canoe, and 
when big fishes swam in the clouds ? 

"It may truthfully be said that a very great part of what 
has been published in modern times on the subject of Maya 
writings can only be ranked with comic literature, though not 
very amusing either. Even the beautifully printed papers of 
the Smithsonian Institution, on the subject, are as meaning- 
less as they are pretentious; and I challenge any Americanist, 
authorized or not authorized, to disprove this assertion. 

" I will add: more than any of those who have followed in 
his wake on the road opened by him, the learned Abbe was 
competent and well prepared to surmount the difficulties with 
which it is streAvn. His knowledge of the Maya as well 
as of the Quichd, a cognate tongue ; his acquaintance with 
the lore and traditions of the Indians of Eabinal, in the moun- 

" Schellhas, P., Die Maya Handschrift der Edliglkhen Bibliotheh zu Dres- 
den, p. 149. 


tains of Guatemala; his sojourn among the Quiches and the 
Mams to whom he administered the rites of the Catholic 
Church, and preached in their own vernacular, besides his 
many other scholastic attainments — I repeat, qualified him 
preeminently for undertaking the interpretation of the Maya 
texts. He erred in letting his imagination and his pre- 
conceived opinions blind his judgment. But who on earth 
is perfect? To err is human. Did not his self-appointed 
judges err when they condemned him because he dared say 
that the Troano contained the narratives of geological events ? 
Yet the learned Abbe was right in so saying; and they were 
wrong in presuming to pass an opinion on what they did not 
know, and do not even at present. Whilst disapproving his 
translation, it was their duty to point out where it was incor- 
rect. Have they done this ? JSTo ! Why not ? Because they 
themselves are unable to interpret the Maya texts, and are 
ignorant of their meaning. 

" Instead of accusing him of having impeded the study of 
Maya palaeography, they should have thanked him for having 
made known the existence of Maya books in Europe in our 
day. These books had been preserved in libraries, private 
and public, since they were sent to Charles V. , and presented 
to him in 1520 by Dn. Francisco de Montejo, the conqueror 
of Yucatan, and Porto Carrero, by order of Hernando Cortez, 
whose companions in arms they were. No one knew in what 
language they were written, nor to what kind of alphabet the 
characters belonged, until Brasseur recognized them as being 
similar to those preserved by Landa in his work ' Belacion de 
las Cosas de Yucatan,' which had remained unpublished in the 
library of the ' Royal Academy of History ' in Madrid. 
Brasseur again unearthed it from beneath the coating of dust 


where it had lain for more than three centuries, and in 1860 
had it printed. Is not that alone sufficient to cause his mem- 
ory to be respected by all students of American archaeology? " 

My interlocutor, who had been hstening with manifest 
impatience to my just panegyric of the learned Abbe, inter- 
rupted me and exclaimed: " Do not speak so, or you will kill 
your own reputation and lose the fruits of your own labors; 
all authorized Americanists wiU. condemn you as they have 

"Indeed! "Well, sir, they are welcome to do it; that is, 
when they can do it knowingly. Meanwhile, before they pro- 
nounce their sentence, let them remember the words of Themis- 
tocles to the over-hasty Eurybiades: ' Strike, but heaeme! ' " 


Note XVI. (Pages 132, 133.) 

(7) This custom of carrying children astride the hip still pre- 
vails in Yucatan, as it does in India (" Buddaghosha Parables," 
translation by H. T. Eogers, R.E.) and other places where we 
find Maya customs and traditions. 

(1) Landa, "Las Cosas de Yucatan " (p. 236): "El primer 
dia del ano desta gente era siempre a xvi dias de nuestro mes 
de Julio, y primero de su mes de Popp." 

ChampoUion Figeac, " Egypte " (p. 336): " Or pendant plus 
de trois mil ans avant I'ere chretienne et quelques siecles apres 
cette belle etoile (Sirius) s'est levee le meme jour fixe en Egypte 
(parallele moyen) un peu avant le soleil (lever heliatique) et ce 
jour a ete le 20 Juillet de notre calendrier Julien." 

Censorius, " De die Natali," says that the canicula in Egypt 
regularly rises on the first of Thoth, that corresponded to the 
20th of July, 1322 b.c. 

Porphyry says " that the first day of the month Thoth and 
of the year are fixed in Egjrpt by the rising of Sothis, or Dog- 


Note XVII. (Page 124.) 

(2) During the reconstruction of the temple of Jerusalem, 
under the reign of Josiah, on a certain morning the High Priest 
Hilkiah, in the year 621 b.c, told Shapham, a scribe, that 
he had found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord. 
Shapham took the book and presented it to the king, who 
named a committee to go and consult the prophetess Huldah 
regarding the genuineness of the book. She, wise woman that 
she was, not wishing to make an enemy of Hilkiah, gave an 
evasive answer, that, however, satisfied the king, who, it seems, 
was not of a very critical turn of mind. The prevalent opin- 
ion at the beginning of the Christian era, regarding the author- 
ship of the Pentateuch, was that Moses never wrote the book. 
(Clementine, Homily, II., §51; Homily, VIII. , §42.) 

IS^oTE XVIII. (Page 127.) 

(1) Henry Grose, ' ' Voyage in the East Indies ' ' (chap. vii. , 
p. 95): "Elephanta Island, near Bombay, contains cave tem- 
ples so old that there is no tradition as to who made them. 
There are paintings round the cornices that, for the beauty and 
freshness of the coloring, not any particularity in the design, call 
the attention; which must have lasted for some tliousands of 
years, on supposing it, as there is all reason to suppose it, con- 
temporary with the building." 


Note XIX. (Page 139.) 

(1) The acceptance, by a young girl, of a fruit sent by her 
lover constituted betrothal among the ancient Mayas, as it 
does in our day among their descendants. In Yucatan, if a 
young man wishes to propose marriage to a girl, he sends by a 
friend, as a present, a fruit, a flower, or some sweetmeat. The 
acceptance of it is a sign that the proposal of the suitor is ad- 
mitted. From that moment they are betrothed. The refusal 
of the present means that he is rejected. A similar custom 
exists in Japan. When a young lady expects a proposal of 
marriage, a flower-pot is placed in a convenient position on the 
window-sill. The lover plants a flower in it. If next morning 
the flower is watered, he can present himself to his lady-love, 
knowing that he is welcome. If, on the contrary, the flower 
has been uprooted and thrown on the sidewalk, he understands 
that he is not wanted. 

In Egypt the eating of a quince by two young people, to- 
gether, constituted betrothal. So also in Greece, where the 
custom was introduced from Egypt. In this custom we find 
a natural explanation of the first seven verses of the third 
chapter of Genesis, and why the serpent was said to have 
offered a fruit to the \\'oman. 


Note XX. (Pages 15, 155.) 

(1) The Mayas held Fire to be the breath, the direct eman- 
ation of Ku, the Supreme Intelligence; its immediate agent 
through which all things were produced, and the whole crea- 
tion kept alive. Therefore they worshipped it as deity itself. 
To it, in high places, they raised altars, on which a perpet- 
ual fire, rekindled once a year, was watched by priestesses 
whose special duty was to see that it never became extin- 
guished. These were recruited from among the daughters of 
priests and nobles. They were called Zvihiiy Kak, "Vir- 
gins of the Fire.'" At their head was a Lady Superior, 
whose title, Ix naacaii-katun,^ meant " She who is forever 

They procured the new fire either directly from the rays of 
the sun, or from the shock of two hard stones, or by rubbing 
two pieces of wood together. 

Among the symbols sculptured on the mastodon trunks that, 
at a very remote period of Maya history, embellished the 
facades of all sacred and public edifices, these signs are occasion- 
Taken collectively they read 
thunder," hence, "fire." 

Far deeper, however, is their esoteric meaning. The inter- 
pretation of each individual sign reveals the fact that they 
form a cosraological pandect, or treatise, on the creation of the 

' Cogolludo, Hist, de Yucatlian, lib. iv. , cap. ii., p. 177. 
■^ lUd. 


world. They thus afford us a glimpse of some of the scientific 
attainments of the learned Maya priesthood. Their knowl- 
edge they communicated in the mysterious recesses of the tem- 


pies, where the profane never penetrated, to initiates only. 
These were bound by the most solemn oaths never to make 
known the sacred mysteries there taught, except to those 
rightly entitled to receive them. 

Science was then, as it is even to-day, the privilege of the 
few. In those remote ages the sacerdotal class and the nobility 
claimed it as their own; now it is that of the wealthy. True, 
in our times, knowledge is denied to none, px'ovided the appli- 
cant can paj' for it, and no one is under oath not to divulge 
what he has learned ; but its acquirement is costly, and beyond 
reach of the majority. 

The temples of the Maya sages are in ruins, slowl}'- but 
surely crumbling to dust, gnawed by the relentless tooth of 
time; and, what is worse, recklessly destroyed by the iconoclas- 
tic hand of ignorance and avarice. Sanctuaries have become 

Page S56. 

Plate LXXni. 


tlie abode of bats, swallows, and serpents. Lairs of the wild 
beasts of the forests, they are not only deserted but shunned 
by human beings, who stand in awe of them. Where now are 
the sages who used to assemble within their sacred precincts 
to delve into the mysteries of creation, to wrest her secrets from 
the bosom of Mother Nature ? Do their spirits still hover there, 
as the natives assert? Purified from all earthly defilement, 
have they been reabsorbed in the great ocean of intelligence, 
as Buddhists would have us believe ? Are they enjoying the 
perfect repose of Nirvana, Avaiting to be summoned to begin 
another cycle of mundane existences in more advanced plane- 
tary worlds than ours ? 

To-day I surely violate no oath if I reveal part of those 
very teachings that the adepts of old so carefully kept from 
the multitudes, whom they regarded as unAvorthy to participate 
in the divine light that had been vouchsafed to their minds ; a 
principle practised, likewise, by the Egyptian priests, and that 
Clement of Alexandria, Avho had been initiated into their mys- 
teries, proclaimed hj asserting (Stromate XII.), " The mj^ste- 
ries of the faith are not to be divulged to all. . . . It is 
requisite to hide in a mystery the wisdom spoken." 

I Avill premise the explanation of the signs under consider- 
ation by stating that they teach precisely the same doctrine re- 
garding creation that Ave find in " Primander," the most ancient 
and authentic of the first philosophical books of Egj^pt, attrib- 
uted to Thoth, that is, Hermes Trismegistus. "Out of it 
[chaos] came forth the fire, pure and light, and rising it Avas 
lost in the air that, spirit-like, occupies the intermediate space 
betAveen the water and the fire. The earth and the Avater Avere 
so mixed that the surface of the earth, covered by the Avater, 
appeared noAvhere." 


Again we read in the Hermetic books on the origin of things : 
"For there were boundless darkness in the abyss, and water, 
and a subtile spirit, intellectual in power, existing in chaos." 

Berosus, recounting the Chaldean legend of creation, says : 
" In the beginning all was darkness and water." 

In Genesis we read: " In the beginning darkness was upon 
the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the 
face of the waters." 

The author of the " Popol-vuh " tells us: " This is the recital 
of how everything was without life, calm and silent; aU was 
motionless and quiet; void was the immensity of the heavens, 
and the face of the earth did not manifest itself; yet only the 
tranquil sea was, and the space of the heavens." 

In the ' ' Manava-Dharraa-Sastra, ' ' we are told : ' ' The visible 
universe in the beginning was nothing but darkness. Then the 
great, self -existing Power dispelled that darkness and appeared 
in all his splendor. He first produced the waters; and on 
them moved Narayana, the Divine Spirit. ' ' 

As in Egjqitian so in Maya, the sign /^ \ corresponds to 
our Latin letter h, or ch, which in Maya UlJ is pronounced 
with a peculiar hard accent, clla. 

Ctia is the radical of the verb cllab, "to create," "to 
bring forth from nothing," "to animate," "to give breath 
or life." Also of the word cllah, "a drop of water." 

Placed as it is in the inscription, it stands for its heading or 
epitome of its contents. 

The next (^s\ is a complex sign, as the world it repre- 
sents. It is \xy composed of a circumference, image of the 
horizon ; of a central point, or boss, symbol of the sun ; and of 
five radii, or rays, emanating from it. These rays are curved 
from right to left, to indicate the direction in which the sun 


apparently travels every day. These same five radii stand for 
the numerical "five," ho, in the Maya language, radical of 
hool, the "head," "that which is above," hence the Deity, 
and also the universe. As to the five parts into which the 
circle is divided, they probably stood for the five great conti- 
nents — North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and 

The whole sign is therefore symbolical of the world, with 
the Deity, "the sun," shedding its beneficent rays over it, as 
it travels from east to west. 

We have just seen that in the cosmogonies of aU. civilized 
nations of antiquity, in Asia and Africa, as well as in America, 
water is not only regarded as the primordial element, but is said 
to have covered the whole surface of the earth. The Mayas, 
the Chaldeans, and the Egyptians also called it "J.," probably 
because that is the first sound uttered without constraint by 
the vocal organs of infants. 

The Mayas graphically represented that name of the water 
by a circumference Q, the shape of a drop of water, or of 
the horizon, sometimes with, sometimes without, a central point, 
indicating the sun. 

When inventing the characters of their alphabet, which are 
mostly images of objects surrounding them, they naturally 
assigned it the first place. Thus " J. " became the first letter 
in the alphabets of all nations with which they had communi- 
cations, and it is yet the first letter of the majority of alphabets 
in use. 

The Egyptians were not the inventors of their own alpha- 
bet. They attributed it to Thoth, their god of letters. Did 
they learn from the Mayas the name and shape of their first 



" J. " in Maya is radical of many words conveying the idea 
of humidity, generation, reviviscence. A few will sulBce. 

Aakal, a pond; humidity; as a verb, to become green, as 
the plants after the first showers. 

Aakil, to revivify; to spring back to life, as does nature 
after its apparent death during winter, when it lies 

Ab, is the breath; the respiration; vapor. 

Ac, to prepare for cultivation dried-up swamps; popula- 

tion; people. 

C\r% This last sign is perhaps the most comprehensive, and 
t^ therefore the most interesting. 

As an alphabetical sign, it is the X of the Maya alphabet, 
pronounced as the English sh. As prefix to a noun, it indicates 
the feminine gender, being a contraction of ix, the feminine 
article. In the inscription under consideration, it represents 
th.e female forces of nature., as f N, component part of Q, 
the Maya letter corresponding U\J to our H, stands \D 
for all, the masculine article, the male forces. 

The character Oo' is composed of two C »^, one of 

the signs that in ^O the Maya alphabet is equivalent 
to letter iV in ours. As a distinct symbol it is found 
four times only in the Troano MS. (plates xx., xxi., xxiii., 
part ii.). 

' This sign has been mistaken by the learned Dr. Henry Schliemann for 
a svastica. Quoting my name in his work Troja (p. 122), he says it was dis- 
covered by me in the mural inscriptions of the Mayas. This is an error, 
so far as the meaning of tlie sign is concerned. Neither in the monumental 
inscriptions nor in the 3Iaya books known to-day have I ever found ;i 
svastica. I am not aware that such sj'uibol was used bv the ancient Maya 
sages. It may have existed among them, however. All I can assert is that 
I have met with no proof of it. 


The author of this most interesting work informs his readers 
that it represents the " boundaries of the two inclosed basins or 
seas;" that is, the two American mediterraneans, the Gulf 
of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea — a fact easily verified by 
tracing a general outline of the shores of the Gulf of Mexico 
from Cape Sable, the southernmost point of Florida, to Cape 
Catoche, the northernmost end of Yucatan; then continuing 
the drawing to Cape San Antonio, the westernmost extremity 
of the island of Cuba, thence following the general contour 
of the western shores of the West India Islands to Grenada. 
The curved line thus obtained will be precisely the sign C — -^ , 
N, initial letter of the ancient names Nen-lia of the Mexican 
Gulf, and Nau of the Caribbean Sea. 

Does not this sign recall that over which stands the serpent 
^ with inflated breast, emblem of Lower Egypt ? Under 
Ady it is the image of a sieve, symbol of lordship and 
dominion. The sieve in Maya is called Mayab, one of the 
ancient names of Yucatan. 

The character X, the female principle, the matrix, is the 
initial letter of many words relating both to water and to 

The ancient philosophers held, and modern physiologists 
teach, that all living things had their origin in water. It 
would appear that the Maya sages, in remote times, had dis- 
covered this scientific truth, and adapted their language to 
this, as to many other of their scientific discoveries, so as to 
express them in as concise a manner as possible. So, for 
instance : 

Xaa, to flow. 

Xaan, to flow slowly. It becomes, by permutation. 


Nax, to shine in the darkness, as fire; the divine spirit 
floating on the surface of the waters; or the phos- 
phorescence of the water in tropical seas. 

Xaab, the abyss of water in which took place the genera- 
tion xab. This may be one of the reasons why the 
wise Maya priests selected as emblem for god of the 
ocean the mastodon, that, like the elephant, could 
propagate ordy in water. 

Now, if we consider the ^JO as a composite sign formed 
by two C — ^, its meaning ^O is then "power," "wis- 
dom," "knowledge," since it gives us the word ca-n, 
which, as we have seen (p. 96), is always significant of might, 
power, intelligence, as all vocables allied to it. Such, for 
instance, as: 

Kaan, manifested, raised. 

K.aauaat, great intelligence; genius. 

Kanab, the sea. 

Kanha, the rain storm. 

Kanchaac, hurricane. 

Kauan, that which is necessary, which is precious. 

The doctrine contained in the three signs that form the 
inscription can therefore be epitomized in the following words : 
' ' In water, by fire the vivifying power of the universe, were 
created the male and female forces of nature, and they pro- 
duced all things." 

A glance at the sculpture of the dying warrior that adorned 
Prince Coh's mausoleum ^ suffices for us to see that the ancient 

'Plate LVIII. 


Mayas, like the Egyptians, G-reeks, Chaldeans, Hindoos, and 
other civilized nations of antiquity, held that the mtal princi- 
ple, the soul, in man and animals, was an igneous fluid that 
escaped as a blue flame through the mouth at the death of the 
material body. " This blue flame," says Baron Charles von 
Reichenbach, in his work " Physico-physiological Eesearohes 
in the Dynamics of Magnetism, Electricity, etc.," is "often 
seen escaping from dying persons, by sensitives." 

We learn from the Hermetic books the ideas of the Egyp- 
tians regarding the composition of the soul. Fire, a constit- 
uent part of divine intelligence, becomes a soul when immersed 
in organic water, and a body when it enters into organic clay, 
hence the old philosophic saying, " Corpus est terra, anima est 
ignis." Hermes Trimegistus teaches that "at the moment of 
death, our intelligence, one of God's subtle thoughts, escapes 
the body's dross, puts on its fiery tunic again, and floats hence- 
forth in space, leaving the soul to await judgment." 

Among the prayers and hymns of the Yajur Yeda, there 
are passages in which the unity of God is taught. One of said 
prayers begins thus: "Fire is the original cause; the sun is 
that; so is the air; so is the moon; such, too, is that pure 
Brahm, and those waters, and that Lord of creatures. " {Asiatic 
Researches, vol. viii., p. 431.) 

Macrobius in his work " Somnium Scipionis " (cap. xiv.), 
resumes the doctrine thus: " There is a fluid luminous, igneous, 
very subtle, called ether, spiritus, that fills the whole universe. 
The substance of the sun, of the stars, is composed of it. It is 
the pi-inciple, the essential agent, of all motion, of aU life. It 
is, in fact, the Deity. "When a body is about to become animated 
on earth, a globular molecule of said fluid gravitates through 
the milky way toward the moon. There it combines with 


grosser air, thus becoming fit to associate with matter. It then 
enters the body that is forming; fills it completely, animates 
it, grows, suffers, expands, contracts with it. "When this body 
perishes and its material elements dissolve, this incorruptible 
molecule escapes from it. It would return immediately to the 
great ocean of ether were it not detained by its association 
with lunar air. It is the latter that, preserving the shape of 
the body, remains in the condition of shadow or ghost, a per- 
fect image of the deceased. The Greeks called that shadow 
the image or idol of the soul. The Pythagoreans said it was 
its vehicle or envelope. The rabbinical school regarded it as its 
vessel or hoat. If the individual had lived a righteous life, his 
whole soul — that is, his vehicle and his ether — ascended back 
immediately to the moon, where their separation took place. 
The vehicle remained in the lunar elysium ; the ether returned 
to God. If, on the other hand, he had lived an unrighteous 
life, his soul remained on earth until it became purified, wander- 
ing here and there in the fashion of Homer's shadows." 

While in Asia, Homer had become acquainted with this 
doctrine, three centuries before its introduction into Greece, 
according to Cicero {Tuscul., lib. i., §16), by Pherecides 
and his pupil Pythagoras, who pretended to be the inventors 
of it, if we believe Herodotus. He positivel}' asserts that the 
story of i:he soul and its transmigrations had heen invented hy 
the Egyptians.'^ Did these receive it from the Mayas ? 

Kak is the Maya word for " fire." 

Ka is the Egyptian for the double; the astral shape; exist- 
ence; individuality. 
Kii is the Maya for the Divine Essence; the God-head. 

' Herodotus, Hist., lib. ii., cxxiii. 


Khu = Akh is the Egyptian for intelligence; spirit; manes; 

light; God-head. 
Kul, Maya, to worship ; to adore. 
Khu = Akh, Egyptian, to worship; to adore. 

' ' The root of life was in every drop of the ocean of immortal- 
ity, and the ocean was radiant light, which was fire, am,d heat, 
and motion. Darkness vanished and was no more; it disap- 
peared in its own essence, tlie hody of fire and water, or father 
and mother.'''' (From the Book of Dzyan, stanza iii., §6. 
Apvd H. P. Blavatsky, " The Secret Doctrine," vol. i., p. 29.) 

The ancient Mayas believed in the immortality of the 
spirit and in reincarnation, as do their descendants to this day. 


Note XXI. (Page 158.) 

(1) It may be seen from the following passage in the Saddh- 
arma potmdarika, " The Lotus of the Good Law," chap, xx., 
entitled " Effect of the Supernatural Power of the Tathaga- 
tas," ' that the putting out of the tongue was a symbol of great 
wisdom in India. This chapter is a record of what took place 
in a council of Bodhisattvas ; that is, of men who, having 
acquired the learning necessary to teach aU creatures, had 
arrived at the supreme intelligence of a Buddha. " The 
hands joined they worship Buddha, who has brought them 
together, and they promise him, when he shall have entered 
Nirvana, to teach the law in his stead. The Master thanks 
them. Then the blessed Qakyamouni, and the blessed Pra- 
choutavatma, always seated on the throne of their stoupa, began 
to smile of one accord; then their tongites came out of their 
mouth, and reached the world of Brahma. . . . The 
innumerable Tathagatas, by whom these personages are sur- 
rounded, imitate them." 

This simply means that all these wise men pronounced dis- 
courses and gave their opinions on the matters discussed in the 

(2) Abbe Hue, in his work, " Recollections of a Journey 
through Thibet and Tartary " (vol. ii., chap, vi., p. 158), 
says: " A respectful salutation in Thibet consists in uncovering 

' Apud Bartlifilemy de Saint-Hilaire, Vie de Bouddha, pp. 71-72. 


the head, lolliiig out the tongue., and scratching the right ear at 
the same time. ' ' 

W. Woodville Eockhill, in the Century Magazine (New 
York, edition of February, 1891, p. 606), says : " The draw- 
ing out of the tongue, and at the same time holding out both 
hands pabns uppermost, is the mode of salutation near Dre-chu, 
in Thibet. ... At I'Hasa, capital of Thibet, the mode 
of salutation consists in one sticking out his tongue, pulling 
his right ear, and rubbing his left limb at the same time." 






A, meanings of letter 
Afghanistan, names of places in, 

Maya words .... 
Akkadian treatises, copies of old, 

ordered by Assurbanipal . 

the scientific language of the 


and Maya languages com- 

Akkad, its Maya meaning . 
Altar in Prince Coil's Memorial 

Hall 7 

America, its ancient history never 

taken into account . . .10 

the oldest continent . . ix 

, hypotheses regarding its peo- 
pling and civilization . viii 

Analyses of sign of negation Ma, 

239 (note), liii 

Ancients, the, generally acquainted 
with size of earth . . 307 

Ancient Maya buildings, regard- 
ed with awe by natives . xxxii 

Maj'a structures, their build- 
ers unknown to natives xxxiii 

buildings in ruins at time of 

Spanish invasion xxxii 

Ancona, Bligio, biographical sketch, 181 

Annals, Maya, destroyed and hid- 
den Iviii 

Antagonism of the brothers Coll 
andAac . . . . 123 

Arts and sciences, abhorred by 
early Christians . . . xiv 

Art, works of, destroyed . 196 

Aryans, had no idea of a created 
universe . . .18 

Ashes, preserved in heads of statues 
in Mayacli. In Egypt, like- 
ness placed on coffin lid . . 88 

Asps, emblematic of royalty in 
Egypt ... .5 

Aspersions of Dr. Brinton . . 199 

Asshur, god, name of Maya ori- 
gin 43 

Astronomical tables, Hindoo, the 
oldest, the most accurate . 183, 185 

Attitude of respect, alike in May- 
acli and Egypt . 131 

Baal, god, his name Maj'a . GO 

Baao, cynocephalus in Mayacli, 

attendant of God of Death . 115 
Babel, its Maya etymology . 34 



Babylon, Maya etymology of its 

Chaldean names . . .33 

Babylonian standard of measures . 207 
Balain, why regarded as protec- 
tor of crops .... 284 

and CliaCS not the same . 233 

Balch^, sacred liquor (note) 111 

Bel-Marduk, god, his name Maya, 73 
Bird, emblem of Deity in Sandwich 

Islands 74 

offering to God of Rain . Ill 

, symbol of principal female 

divinity .... 13 

Blue, mourning color of Mayas, 89 

, of Egyptians . 90 

Books, Maya, written in alpha- 
betical characters . . xxxi 
Brahmins, origin of, obscure . 17 

borrowed their science from 

others 17 

Burmah, Mayas in . . . 201 

Can, title of Maya rulers . . 4 

, its important meanings . 93 

Cans, initiated into Sacred Mys- 
teries . . ... 300 
Carchemish, commercial city of the 

Khati . .... 62 

Cardinal points, Maya, how 
named . ... 336 

, genii of, according to 

Maya writings . . 219 

Carian and Maya woman's dress, 03 
Caribbean Sea, its emblem a deer . xliv 
Carthaginians, America A'isited by, xii 
Carvings of lintel at entrance to 
Prince Coli's funeral chamber. 
Their meaning . . . 122 

Central America, ancient Maya 

Empire ... .5 

Clialdeans, primitive, Maya colo- 
nists . . . .29 

, strangers in Babylonia . 33 

. their name a Maya word . 33 


Chaldeans used the metre . . 207 
Chaldean magicians exorcised with 
Maya words . .40 

magicians first welcomed, and 

later condemned to death, in 
Rome 39 

Challenge to Dr. Brinton . . 204 
Children, carried astride the hip in 

Mayaell and India . 
Cocom, killed by his nobles 
CogoUudo, biographical sketch of 

wrote the most complete his- 
tory of Yucatan xxxiii. 

Consulting fate on the entrails of a 
peccary . . . . 

Cosmic egg, origin of all things 

Cosmic diagram, Chaldean and 
Hindoo amplifications of the 

Cosmogonic conceptions, epito- 
mized in names of cardinal num- 
bers . . . 

notions, base of Maya reli- 
gious conceptions 

Creator, his attempts to make a 
perfect man 

Creation Tableau, explained . 

, figure in cosmic egg of 

Creation, various accounts of 

Cremation of bodies 

, preparation of bodies for 

Criticisms on Abbe Brasseur's work. 

Cross, emblem of Rain God among 

rarely found in Maya sculp- 

Custom of proffering love with a 

Curio hunters, guilty of leze-his- 
tory xxiii 

Cynocephali, represented with God 
of Death at Uxnial . . . 115 

Cynocephalus, indigenous to Cen- 
tral America, not to Egypt . 116 














. 110 





Danavas, of Maya origin . . 2 
Decimal system, use of, proved by 

Maya ruins . . . .211 

, why used by the Mayas, 220 

used by Egyptians . 310 

Defilement, presence of corpse a, 

(note) 138 
Defence of Abbe Brasseur . . 240 
Desert of Shur, its name a Maya 

word 58 

Destruction of Mu, described by 

Maya authors 146 
told in the names of 

the Greek letters . . 149 
narrated in Egyptian 

archives 149 

Dhyan Chohans, four Maharajahs 

of the Hindoos . . .217 

Diagram, mystic, of the Mayas . 220 
Dragon, emblem on banners of 

Khans in Asia . 199 

Dress of laborers, alike in Ma- 

yacll and Egypt . . 132 

, Maya, in olden times . . 83 

Drowned valleys of Antillean lands, xliv 
Durability of pigments used by 

Mayas 88 

Early Christians plunged Western 

Europe into ignorance xv 
Egyptian civilization, infancy of, 

unknown . . 01 

• , its origin must be sought 

in the West . . 53 

Art, maturity of . . 301 

Sphinx, the enigma of history, 159 

, opinion of various wri- 
ters regarding it . . . 159 

painted red . . 95 

, its position relative to 

the pyramid . 100 

, buildings surrounding it, IGO 

, names at base of . . 161 

, whose portrait was it . 102 

Egyptian pyramid, king's chamber, 
measurements of . . . 

Egyptians pointed to the West as 
home of their ancestors 

not of Aryan stock 

, primitive, strangers in the 

valley of the Nile 

received their sciences from 

the Mayas 

Emblems, Maya, interpreted 

■ ■ of the universe, the simplest 

that of the Mayas . 

End of Can dynasty . 

Enmity of Sun and Serpent, tradi- 
tional among all nations . 

Entablature of Memorial Hall, 
meaning of ornamentation 

Errors of Abbe Brasseur 

Esoteric meaning of cardinal num- 
bers, Maya 

of numbers in various 

countries . 

doctrine of creation, Maya, 316 

cosmic diagram of Mayas . 16 

Evolution of creation, doctrine of, 
among various ancient nations . 

, Maya doctrine of 

Exact sciences known to the 














Failure of scholars to read Maya 
hieroglyphics . . 348 

Pate, read by ceremony of Pou, 

(note) 129 

Feast of Feralia . . 10 

Feathers worn by kings and war- 
riors . . . xlv 

, insignia of gods and kings, 

(note) 100 

Festival of ancestors, among all 
nations at same time of year 1 1 

First Principle, the, a thrice un- 
known darkness . . 319 

Fire, the essential element . 187, 301 



Francisco De Cordova, first Span- 
iard who landed in Mayacli, xxviii 

French, modern measurements of 
the earth, accord with those of a 
remote, unknown race . . 208 

Fresco paintings, at Cliicllen, 
admired by John h. Stephens . 200 

in Memorial Hall . . 6 

disfigured by visitors . 127 

, history of Prince Coli 

in 6 

Funeral customs of Mayas and 
Egyptians . ... 84 

urns, charred viscera pre- 
served in red oxide of mercury 

in 87 

vases, Canopi in Egypt. 

Maya meaning of word . . 85 

Genii of the cardinal points, 

Maya and others . . .86 
Geometric symbology of the 

Mayas and others . 15 

Gift of cloaks to victors in athletic 

games . . ... 132 
Goddess Isis, the bird an emblem of, 13 
God of Rain, invocations to . . 104 
symbolized by image 

of Southern Cross . . .109 
Greek alphabet, why letters of 

same value are placed apart . 150 
Gucumatz, emblem of Creator . 71 

Hakaptah, a Maya word . . 48 
Hanuman, veneration for, in 

Ceylon . . . 78 

Hapimau, name of Nile, Maya 

etymology . . . 47 

Hieroglyphics, Maya, not llic 

same as tliose of Copan and Pa- 

lenijue . . . . .81 

on Kabul mound, interpre- 
tation of . . 1!)7 

, l>Iiiya, their true koy found, 198 


Homen, God of Volcanic 
Forces .... (note) 148 

Horned snake, sacred in Egypt 
and Mayacli . . .5 

, symbol of royalty . 5 

Huldah, prophetess, consulted . 251 
Huns, were they the founders of 
Copan, Palenque, etc. ? . . 189 

Immaculate Conception, doctrine 

of, its origin .... 220 
Immortality, the Mayas believed 

in . . ... 261 

India, British invasion of . . 195 
Inscription on Creation Tableau, 

Egyptian and Maya . . 70 
on mastodon trunk, esoteric 

meaning of . . . 260 

on Kabul mound in Egyp- 
tian characters .... 199 

Intimate relation of Mayas with 

primitive Chaldeans . . 72 

Invocation to God of Kain. Its 

historical interest . 100, 232 

Islitar, goddess, her name Maya, 60 
Isis, the Good Mother, in Egypt, 
like Maya in Greece, India, and 
Mexico ... .167 

Itzaes, abandoned their homes . xxx 
Izanial, description of stucco bas- 
relief at ... .197 

Jehovah, name of, numerical value 231 
Jesus, last words spoken by in 
Maya tongue . . .38 

Kabul, Afghan capital . 195 

temple in Izanial . 196 

Kanaau, a Blaya word 58 

Katish, nanio of the city of, a 

]>Ia>a word . . 63 
Khan or Cau, its meaning . 199 
, Eastern title, emblematized 

as a dragon . 199 



Khati, name of the, a Maya word, 61 
King jMenes, his name a Maya 

word 48 

Knowledge among Mayas, privi- 
lege of priesthood and nobility, xxxi 

Land of Mu, pride of the ocean . 144 
, its emblem after de- 
struction .... xliv 

, its ten provinces . 66 

, Plato's Atlantis . xli 

Landa, Bishop, a Maya scholar . li 
, his biography . . .169 

destroyed Maya books . 170 

preserved Maya letters and 

signs for days . . .171 

Language, gauge of a nation's 
spirit 1 

, an accurate guide in trac- 
ing relationship between various 
peoples ... . xvi 

, a knowledge of Maya nec- 
essary for understanding sculp- 
tures 112 

Legend on each side of cosmic 
egg, its explanation . . .74 

Leleges, ancient name of Carians, 
Maya . . .63 

Lilcbabi, etymology of the name . 36 

Lineal measure, true standard of 
the Maya . . .213 

adopted by the Mayas, 224 

Lip ornaments, American . . 118 

Lizana, Bernardo, biographical 
sketch of . . . .181 

Magic words, supposed cure for 

hydrophobia, Maya . . .41 
Map of Maya Empire explained . xliii 
Masons, wandering, measured the 

circumference of the earth . 208 

Mastodon, God of the Ocean . . 110 
Mausoleum of Prince Coll at 
Chicheii . .155 

Maya Empire, emblems of, ex- 
plained 1 

, a powerful nation in remote 

ages . . . . xxxviii 

colonists settled on the banks 

of the Nile in Nubia . . .44 

called their settlement 

Maioo 44 

origin of tree, serpent, cross, 

and elephant worship . . 25 

— — rulers, how represented after 

death 5 

- — — Empire, symbolized as a tree, xlix 
represented as a serpent, 125 

buildings, some of vei7 gi'cat 

antiquity . . xxxiii 

colonists called the Valley of 

the Nile Chem, also Ain j mean- 
ing of these names . . .47 

sages believed America the 

oldest continent . . . . xi 

esoteric meaning of yellow 93 

mother of gods and men . 73 

remains, destroyed by curio 

hunters . . xxiii 

books reveal origin of some 

myths and traditions . . . xvii 

conquest of India anterior to 

the Aryan . . . .22 

geographers acquainted with 

contour of American continent . 59 

civilization, ancient, unknown 

to chroniclers . xxxiv 
, decadency of, its cause, xxxi 

books, description of . .174 

a universal name among na- 
tions of antiquity . x 

writings relate the destruc- 
tion of Plato's Atlantis xviii 

colonists, went to the land of 

Canaan .... 57 

history written in books . 5 

etymology of the name Brah- 
ma, and of that of the Cosmic egg, 24 



Maya history, important events 
carved in stone .... 6 

philosophers, their notions, 

cosmogonicand others, portrayed 

in sculpture . . . .74 
etymology of the word by vari- 
ous authors . . . .39 

and Hindoo cosmic evolution 

identical 16 

migration to the banks of the 

Nile, antiquity of . . .55 

not a dead language, an aid 

in finding origin of ancient civi- 
lizations 20 

word tor fire, analyses of . 262 

■ names among all civilized 

nations of antiquity . . .58 
Mayas addicted to giving nick- 
names 35 

scientists and artists . Iviii 

, Cans called themselves Chil- 
dren of the Sun .... xlvi 

■ likened the earth to a caldron 

and to a calabash . . . Ixii 

colonizers, astronomers, and 

architects . . . (note) 2 

used vegetable colors . 128 

ate the hearts of enemies slain 

in battle . . . 157 
, traces of the, found in all his- 
torical nations of antiquity . 3 

and Aryans seem to have had 

no communication with each 
other 21 

believed in reincarnation . 139 

believed in the eternity of 

being 90 

, treatment of, and of their 

descendants, by the Spaniards . 176 

highly civilized, great navi- 
gators . . . . 1 

believed the breatli of life to 

be fire .... 155 
, their astronomical knowledge, 333 





Mayas familiar with trigonome- 

an eminently religious people, 

— — did not artificially deform 

their skulls . . 81, 158 

geologists and geographers . xliv 

established colonies west of 

the River Indus .... 

established colonies in the 

country called Akkad 

little acquainted with rules of 

perspective . 

— '—, proofs of their communication 
with natives of Asia and Africa, xv 

adopted religious practices of 

Nahuatls . . xxxi 

and Egyptians, acquired civ- 
ilization from same masters 

intensely patriotic . 

believed that the spirits of 

their great men reanimated stat- 
ues in which their ashes were 

Mayach, fruit offering a pro- 
posal of marriage in . 

, not India, mother of nations 

, great personages of, deified, xxxi 

Mayapan, ruins of . 105 

, city of, destroyed . . . xxx 

Meaning of the name Akkad, a puz- 
zle for scholars; its interpretation 

of Prince Coh's name . 

Measurements of Maya gnomon . 
Mehen, serpent accompanying the 

Creator in Egypt 
Memorial Hall of Prince Coll at 

Chiclieu, by whom erected 

, description of 

Metre, its use by the ]>Iayas 
Migration into Egypt, Bunsen's es 

timate of dates 
Misiir and Muzur, names of Egypt 

]>Iaya etymology of 
Mizraim, Maya elyniology of 









Mode of wearing the hair by 
Maya and Egyptian matrons 
in mourning . . .84 

Moloch, the god, his name a Maya 
word ...... CI 

Mongols In America . . . 190 

Monkey worship in Mayacli, 77, 116 

in India 

Monkey-god Thoth, great price 
olfered for his image by an In- 
dian prince .... 

Monkeys worshipped by Egyptians, 

, men changed into, because of 

their iniquities . 

sacred in Babylonia and 

Japan ..... 

buried in reserved spots in 

Egypt and Guatemala 

Mu, Land of, its destruction re- 
corded by Mayas and Greeks 

: history of its de- 
struction preserved by many na- 
tions ... 

its destruction recorded in 

stone ...... 

Brahmins acquired knowl- 
edge from the . . . . 

serpent worshippers 

, their origin unknown to Indi- 

anists . 

, theii' conquests 

, their rajahs called khans 

rulers held sway over Hin- 

dostan before Aryan invasion . 

originally Maya adepts 

, meaning of the word 

Nahuatl sacrifice . 

Nahuatls invaded Yucatan and de- 
stroyed cities .... 

Name of Maya Empire, accord- 
ing to Maya books 

of Carians and Caribs, same 

meaning . . . . 










Name of God Asshur's dwelling- 
place, of Maya origin 43 

Names of Greek letters, their 
Maya meaning . . .151 

of Egyptian gods, Maya 

words 49 

Natives of Yucatan, their character 178 

worship ancient im- 
ages . . . 178 

adhere to ancient re- 
ligious practices . . xxxvii 

Nose-rings worn in America . . 118 

Number four in the cosmogony of 
many nations . . . .94 

Number ten sacred to the Maya 
and other ancients . . 231 

Numbers and geometrical figures 
honored with names of gods . 318 

Number thirteen basis of Maya 
computation . . . 211 

, its adoption discussed by 

professors . . . .211 

Cannes, brought civilization to 
Mesopotamia . . . .20 

, Maya etymology of the 

name ...... 26 

Ocean, its Maya names, and their 
meanings . . . 180 

likened to a serpent . 71 

Offerings to the dead, in Ma- 
yacli, Egypt, and India . 8 

in China, Japan, 

Peru, and elsewhere ... 9 

Offerings of foDd to the dead in 
Yucatan . . . 10 

Origin of nobility . . .97 

of ill-luck being attributed to 

number thirteen . (note) 147 

of British foot measure, (note) 76 

of enmity between woman 

and serpent . . . 142 

Ornaments in use among ancient 
Mayas 117 



Osiris portrayed as a leopard . 165 
Outrages, Spanish, during conquest 
of Tucatan . . . xxxv 

Pacab, Don Lorenzo — lineal de- 
scendant of kings of Muna . 106 

Paintings in cave temples, Ele- 
phanta Island .... 251 

Palenque, were its inhabitants 
Huns ? 189 

tablet explained . . 110-113 

Pdt^la (Central America), mother 
country of Nagfis . . 100, 194 

Pentateuch, not written by Moses, 251 

People represented in sculptures, 
at Copan, Palenque, Manche, 
etc., not Mayas 

Phallic worship, origin of 

Physiognomy, Maya, compared 
with that shown in sculptures at 
Palenque, Copan, and Quirigua . 

Pontiff Cay, consulting fate by 
entrails of a fish 

Pope Sylvester II., pupil of Moor- 
ish philosophers 

Posca, what made of . (note) 

Position of priest's hand in cere- 
mony of Pou 

of great personages' hands, 

after death, alike in Maj^acli 
and Egypt 

Priests of Osiris wore leopard skin 
over ceremonial dress 

Prince Coll, loading his warriors . 136 

, his charred heart pre- 
served in red oxide of mercury . 136 

portrayed as a leopard, 

willi human head 

, his heart, part of, chemi- 
cally analyzed 

slain by his brother Aac 

as Osiris was by his brollicr 
Sel . . . 158 

Priiu-c Aac bocauu' a (vriint . 143 ! 



. 130 





Prince Aac vanquished Queen 
Moo . . ... 142 

proffered love to Queen 

Mdo, by a present of oranges . 139 

in presence of the Priest, 134 

incited civil religious 

war .... 
Pshent, crown of Lower Egypt in 

Maya sculptures 
Ptah, Egyptian, the Creator, born 

from an egg . : . . 
Pyramids in Yucatan, invariably 

twenty-one metres high . . 224 
Pythagoras's teachings regarding 

numbers 219 


. 125 


Queen Mdo, consulting fate by 

Pou .... 

, offer of marriage to 

built in Cliicheii a 

memorial haU and a mausoleum 

to the memory of her husband . 
, her refusal of Prince 

Aac's love brought misery to 

Iier and to her country 
, her flight from the 

"West Indies 
, her flight recorded by 

author of Troano MS. 
, her arrival in Egyjit, re- 
ceived with open arms . xix, 
called loin, corrupted 

into Isis 

called Man in Egypt 

may be the builder of the 

Egyptian Sphinx 








Uabbis extol number twenty-one 

beyond all others . . .76 
Rays around cosmic egg. their 

number, emblem of the Creators, 70 
Kod, distinclive color of nobility, 89-95 

, symbolical of power 99 

. its. moaning in Mava . . 103 



Red always used for seals among 
ancient Egyptians . . . 102 

hand in Mayacli, Polyne- 
sia, and India . . . 100, 101 

, mark of ownership . 102 

Reincarnation believed in by 
Mayas . ... 263 

Religious ideas embodied in sacred 
edifices 223 

Rephaim, a Maya word . . 59 

Respect for elders in Mayacli 
as in Egypt . . . 132 

Royalty, yellow its distinctivecolor, 


Royal brothers and sisters united 
in marriage .... 131 



Sacred Pour, in India and Ma- 
yacli . 

word " Aum " explained by 

Maya language . . 13, 

mode of writing Maya no 

longer understood at beginning 

of Cliristian era xxxi 

Sati, a, Maya word, name given 
by Egyptians to the Rephaim . 

Science, the privilege of the few . 

Scientific knowledge revealed in 
Maya architecture 

Sculptured portraits used as fu- 
neral urns 

Sculptures in Mayacli, colored as 
in Greece and otlier countries 

Scidpture of dying warrior, on 
Prince Coil's mausoleum . 

Self-torture by devotees of Goddess 
Kali . . ... 

in America 

Selk, goddess, deification of West 
Indies, name of Maya origin . 

Serpent, emblem of the Creator- 
its Maya origin 

, emblem of the Creator among 

Mayas, Egyptians, and others, 


. 224 













Serpent, supposed wisdom of, pos- 
sible origin . 

, scales of, form background to 

figure of Creator in tableau at 

, antagonism of Sun with 

, offering of fruit by, ex- 
plained . . . . 

. emblem of Mayacli . 

Set, god of the Khati . 

Seven-headed serpent 

Sign of negation, Maya and Egyp- 
tian alike . . liv, 239 

, Maya, shape of the 

Yucatan peninsula . . i.v 

, Egyptian, its origin 

unknown . . . iv 

for Land of the West, alike in 

Mayacli and Egypt . 

Sieve, one name of Yucatan, Egyp- 
tian symbol of dominion 
, why chosen by the Egyptians 

as symbol of power 
Similarity of Maya and Hindoo 

architecture and customs . 
Skulls deformed by some Pacific 

Islanders . 
Soul, escape of the 
Sphinx, totem of Prince Coh, 

adorning his mausoleum 
Sri-Santara, names of its various 

parts are Maya words 
, an araplifieation of the 

Maya cosmic diagram 
Standard lineal measure, why the 

Mayas adopted the metre 
Statues of deceased persons, made 

by the Mayas 

provided with shell eyes and 


colored in Eastern countries 

as in America 

in the East, as in America, 

provided with eyes . . .192 














Statues of Maya rulers, conven- 
tional posture of, explained . 59 

Stone circles, their meaning . . 15 

Story of enmity between the woman 
and the serpent .... 142 

Survey of Maya buildings care- 
fully made 203 

Symbolism, a knowledge of, neces- 
sary for the understanding of 
Maya sculptures . . . 112 

Taba, word of Maya origin . 48 

Tau, Egyptian, explained by 
Maya language . . . 110 

Tehom, the deep, a Maya 
word .... .73 

Thalatth, her name of Maya ori- 
gin . ... 39 

Thibet, corpses preserved in mer- 
cury in 191 

Thirteen, computation by, to com- 
memorate date of cataclysm . 146 

Thotli, God of Wisdom, as eyno- 
cephalus monkey, second God of 
the Dead 114 

, God of Letters, its name a 

Maya word .... 78 

Tiamat, monster, name of Maya 
origin 72 

Tiaii-Chilians, "Sacred Pour" 
of the Mayas . . . .216 

Ticll, religious ceremony in honor 
of the God of the Fields . 62 

T-Mu, god, personification of At- 
lantis 9Q 

Tongue, the putting out of the, 
symbol of wisdom . . 264 

Tradition of Sandwich Islanders 
regarding creation . . ,74 

Triangle, apex upward fire, apex 
downward water . . .15 

Troano JIS. made known by 
Abb(5 Brasseur .... 243 

, why thus called . . . 175 

Troana MS., its author gives a 
clue to the reading of his text . 244 

, description of the . . . 174 

, a precious scientific and his- 
torical document . .175 

, Part First, plate xxii. , Trans- 
lation of .... . Ivi 

, Part Second, plate xiii. , Trans- 
lation of ... . (note) Ix 

Tzidon, a Maya word . . .59 

Tzur, a Maya word . . .60 

Umbrella, insignia of royalty in 
Maya .... 128 

Universe, Maya conception of . 2l'5 

Urukh, Maya etymology of the 
name of . . . . .36 

Uxnial, escutcheon of . . xlvi 

Vase, hung from necks of the 
dead in Egypt . . 85 

, placed on the abdomen of the 

dead in Mayacli 85 

Virgins of the fire . . . 253 

Votive offerings .... 101 
Vulture, symbol of Goddess Isis . 12 

Water, primordial substance . . 73 

, analysis of the Maya word 

for 259 

Western continent, mentioned by 
classical authors . xi 

West Indies called by Mayas 
" Land of the Scorpion " . . xli 

West, the, regarded by Egyptians 
as place of the dead, where Thoth 
exercised his duty as Scribe . 116 

Winged Serpent, insignia of roy- 
alty in Mayacli, like the 
winged dragon in Asiatic coun- 
tries . . 129 

Winged circles in America, Egypt, 
and Assyria, origin of . 217 

Words written on Belshazzar's ban- 
quet hall were Maya . . 37 




Work of Abbe Brasseur . . 243 
Worship of elephants, of Maya 

origin Sf) 

of cross, of Maya origin . 25 

of serpent, of Maya origin . 25 

of tree, Maya origin . . 25 

Year, began on same day in Ma- 

yacli and Egypt . .250 

Yucatan, description of thecountry, 


Yucatan, its various names . . xxix 

, Peninsula of, represented as 

a shoot and a veretrum . xlvii 

Zactalab, modern God of the 

Crops, its worship by natives of 

Eastern Yucatan 
Zahi, name given to Phoenicia by 

the Egyptians. A Maya word, 
Zinaan (Scorpion), name of West 

Indies, Maya .... 

. 179